UPDATED: The Grammys were once again the biggest thing on TV Sunday night, and though the promise of performances from Beyoncé and Adele and tributes to Prince, George Michael, and Sharon Jones (among others) weren’t quite enough to bring the overnights up from the last few years, the final numbers tell a different story. Sunday’s nearly four-hour-long telecast drew an average audience of 26.05 million, up from 2016 (24.95 million) and 2015 (25.3 million), with a 7.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic and a 6.6 in the 18-34 demographic.
Early results didn’t seem quite as rosy: The Grammy telecast drew a 16.0 household rating in Nielsen’s metered market overnights and a 26 share, down just a tick from 2016’s 16.1 household overnights. (Note: The 2016 Grammys were on a Monday.) In 2015, the kudocast drew a 16.6 overnight rating, which was itself a six-year low. These numbers are all well up from the ceremony’s nadir in the mid-Aughts, when the five telecasts from 2005-2009 drew an average audience of 18.41 million, though as the viewership has ticked up, the household rating has, for the most part, been lower.
The Grammys are the second-biggest awards show of the year, behind the Oscars, and the 2017 edition is like to keep that tradition alive. Updated ratings will be available Monday afternoon — Nielsen’s preliminary ratings that came in at 11 ET aren’t time zone-adjusted (and don’t include a large chunk of the ceremony, given its length). But these preliminary numbers also track with the overnights’ similarity to last year, with an average audience of 23.97 million to 2016’s preliminary 24.07 million.
For those who opted to watch “The Walking Dead” return to AMC, or the start of the final season of HBO’s “Girls,” this year’s Grammys were marked by tributes both somber (Adele for George Michael) and not (Bruno Mars and The Time for Prince), and Beyoncé once again wreaked havoc on social media with a performance that would have been impressive for someone not currently pregnant with twins, and was thus particularly remarkable for the very much with-children Bey.
ABC and NBC opted to air movies instead of going up against all that noise. Fox, however, kept on with its Sunday lineup. In Nielsen’s preliminary ratings, “The Simpsons” brought in a 1.0 and 2.45 million viewers. “Son of Zorn” drew a 0.6 and 1.44 million viewers. “Family Guy” notched a 0.9 and 1.92 million viewers. And “Bob’s Burgers” snagged a 0.8 and 1.7 million viewers.
CBS’ Grammy red carpet coverage, starting at 7:30 ET, brought in a preliminary 14.04 million viewers and a 3.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic.