With the Big Four television networks turning most of their post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s Eve schedules to reruns and recycled holiday specials, CBS’ broadcast of the annual Kennedy Center Honors was the lone bit of original programming on broadcast Tuesday night. But the arts awards did not fair well in the viewership dead zone between the two holidays.
In the advertiser coveted 18-49 demo, the Kennedy Center Honors broadcast drew a 0.7 rating, according to Nielsen overnight numbers, down 30% from last year. The special averaged 6.2 million total viewers from 9-11 p.m., down 28% from last year. Honorees this year included television producer Norman Lear, dancer Carmen de Lavallade, and musicians Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan and LL Cool J.
Not in attendance was President Donald Trump and his wife Melania. In past years, Republican and Democratic presidents and their spouses have attended the Kennedy Center Honors program. Trump became the first president in more than two decades to skip the event. The White House revealed in August that Trump would not attend the annual ceremony in order to “allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.”
A rerun of “Ellen’s Game of Games” on NBC at 8 p.m. was the night’s highest rated show in the demo, with a 1.3. An “NCIS” rerun, also at 8 p.m., led the night in total viewers with 7.2 million.