Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé win the Grammy for Best Rap Song. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

How did the 2021 Grammy Awards do Sunday night in the ratings? Well, depends on who you ask.

If you ask CBS, the headlines in their Monday release all emphasized the positive.

“The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards Delivered Largest Audience for an Awards Show This Season,” the release began. “Music’s Biggest Night Attracts Nearly 9 Million Viewers Across All Live Platforms.”

Taylor Swift wins for Album of the Year. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, no, not really. A closer look, as taken by veteran observer Marc Berman for Forbes magazine, suggests Sunday night may have hit a new record low in terms of Grammy viewers.

The Nielsen preliminary or “fast affilliate” tally indicates that the number of viewers who watched Sunday on CBS dipped to 7.9 million viewers, down by 10.8 million (or 58 per cent) from the year before. That January, 2020 telecast drew 18.7 million viewers and an even higher percentage of 18-49-year-olds.

When it comes to drawing viewers, it don’t come easy for award shows in 2021

The previous Grammy low came in 2006 when 17 million tuned in. CBS did say streaming was up 83 percent over last year. Still, factor in the streaming on the CBS app and Paramount+ and the combined overnight total for the 2021 Grammys was 8.8 million viewers– still about half the tally of the 2006 low. With the Golden Globes also taking a nosedive (just over six million watched on NBC Feb. 28), and with most cinemas suffering through a year-long lockdown, look for the trend to continue April 25 for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards.


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