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The 2023 Grammys might have contained a lot of shock value but the only real surprising thing was the fact that its ratings actually improved from the pandemic years. Despite the improvement, however, it still has fallen short of the pre-pandemic years by a matter of millions.
According to the Associated Press, the ratings hit around 12.4 million between television and streaming services, a whopping four million more than the last two previous years which averaged around 8.8 million. Still, it’s got a lot of catching up to do if it wants to achieve the same audience it did in 2020:
While the Grammys bounced back, it didn’t reach the viewership levels of pre-COVID days. Music’s showcase night was seen by 18.7 million people in 2020.
Live television viewership has declined across-the-board over the past few years, with pro one of the few events to buck the trend.
There was no immediate estimate of how viewing broke down between CBS and its sister streaming service, Paramount+, which also covered the awards. The number is likely to increase slightly when delayed viewing is counted later.
In my previous article giving my thoughts about the Grammys, I doubted that the ratings would have improved much but wouldn’t be too impressive of a gain even if they did. I have to admit that this is a larger gain than I expected, but it’s still not impressive enough to give the award show hope of a mighty comeback.
(READ: The Grammys Wasn’t Edgy or Avant-Garde, It Was Just Tired and Boring Shock-Value)
Some things might have attributed to the surge in viewers. Paramount+ is nipping at the heels of Netflix, making it easier to tune into an event such as the Grammys. Watching Beyonce break an all-time record was something worth watching indeed, and celebrating 50 years of rap was a fun trip down memory lane. Outside of this, however, there was a lot of noise and tired content that we’ve seen a million times before.
The question is whether or not the Grammys can keep the audience now that they’ve gotten some of it back. That remains to be seen, but judging by the public’s reaction to award shows as of late, it will be an uphill battle. The more they part with middle America, the less likely it will be that retention happens.
Anything is possible but with too much fluff and filler and not a lot to see outside the spectacle, audiences will continue to remain out of the grasp of the award shows. I now expect to see a similar increase in the audience at the Emmys, but again, I don’t expect enough of one to make the networks hopeful.
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