Grammycast ratings back on the beat

Show in tune with audiences

Sunday’s Grammy Awards telecast bounced back from its record-low ratings performance of a year ago, winning the night for CBS even though ABC put up a good fight.

A reunion appearance by the Police to kick things off helped bring viewers to the set early, and the show won each half-hour from 8 to 11 o’clock. Overall, music’s biggest night hit its highest Nielsen notes in three years.

Big-event Sunday was the second of three in the February sweep, with CBS also prevailing a week earlier with the Super Bowl. ABC should dominate on Feb. 25 with the Academy Awards.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the 49th annual Grammys averaged an 8.3 rating/20 share in adults 18-49 and 20.1 million viewers overall from 8 to 11:30 p.m., peaking with a 9.0 demo rating and nearly 22 million viewers overall from 9:30 to 10.

These numbers rep gains of more than 15% vs. last year, when the show aired on a Wednesday and was steamrolled in one hour by Fox’s “American Idol”; this year’s ratings also marks a slight improvement over the 2005 kudocast, held on a Sunday.

The 8.3 rating in 18-49 puts the Grammys comfortably ahead of this season’s other top award shows: the Golden Globes on NBC (6.5), the Country Music Assn. Awards on ABC (5.4) and the American Music Awards (4.7), also on the Alphabet.

Grammys delivered a 7.6 rating/19 share in adults 18-34, a 9.2/20 in adults 25-54 and a 5.1/17 in teens — denting some programs on other nets.

ABC fared best, making for a solid No. 2, as “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” led in key demos with both its special 7 o’clock seg (3.9/11 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall) and the conclusion at 8 (6.2/14, 16.9 million), where it logged its second-best delivery of the season in its regular slot.

That boosted “Desperate Housewives” (7.1/15 in 18-49, 18.1 million) to its best firstrun delivery in three airings, while 10 o’clock drama “Brothers & Sisters” (4.5/11, 11.3 million) was a bit below its recent average.

Fox’s young-skewing laffers were affected by the Grammys as well, with “The Simpsons” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 8.3 million) and “Family Guy” (3.9/8 in 18-49, 8.0 million) both on the low end.

NBC was a distant fourth, with “Grease: You’re the One That I Want” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall from 7 to 9 p.m.) and “The Apprentice: Los Angeles” (2.4/5, 6.4 million) both at season lows. “Crossing Jordan” (2.5/6,  8.1 million) remained a distant third for the hour with the start of a crossover episode with Friday drama “Las Vegas.”

On cable, “Live From the Red Carpet” on E! averaged a 1.86 household rating in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights — double what the pre-show did prior to last year’s Wednesday Grammycast (0.93) but also 36% above the 1.37 it did on a Sunday in 2005.

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