A few years ago, one of the biggest memes among reporters who cover TV was the Death of the Awards Show. Oscars? Muerte! Emmys? Finished! Update: Never mind. Sunday’s Grammy Awards on CBS drew nearly 27 million viewers, the biggest tune-in since 2000. Over the last two years, kudofests from the Academy Awards to the Emmys have seen their Nielsen numbers rebound, though we’re not exactly sure why. Maybe folks like watching and bitching via Twitter? In any case, the big number for the Grammys allowed CBS to squeak by Fox to finish first in adults 18 to 49 for the week.
In case you missed it (and you probably did), Paula Abdul’s big CBS reality competition Live to Dance ended its mercifully short run last week, signing off with just 4.7 million viewers (and a 0.9 rating with viewers under 50). While Abdul’s overall viewership number was actually a bit higher than the 4.6 million who watched 30 Rock on NBC last week (really?!), it was low enough to rate as the least-viewed show on all of CBS. Because the Eye clearly won’t be ordering a second season of Dance, some have speculated this means Simon Cowell is free to pursue Abdul for The X Factor. We’ve heard the same speculation, but feel compelled to ask: Why? Whatever love affair America once had with Paula has clearly ended. A reunion with Simon at this point would feel forced and gimmicky.
Behind the Numbers
You know how the depth of the Great Recession didn’t become clear until right around the same time George W. Bush left office? Well, now that Jeff Zucker has left NBC, we’re beginning to see just how plucked up the Peacock is. Last week, without Sunday-night football to inflate its numbers, NBC averaged just 5.7 million viewers and a 1.6 among viewers under 50. That’s less than half the younger viewership of ratings leaders CBS and Fox, and well below even troubled third-place network ABC. How bad were things at NBC last week? In terms of overall viewership, NBC didn’t have a single show in Nielsen’s top twenty; in fact, the network’s No. 1 show for the week was David E. Kelley’s Harry’s Law, which drew a little more than 9.2 million viewers. This, by the way, is a show that NBC had so little faith in, it had originally planned to air just six of its thirteen filmed episodes this season (before finally realizing it had nothing else in its cupboard). Now NBC is so wild about Harry that it aired the show a total of four times last week (a Monday original and repeats on Saturday and Sunday). Things weren’t much better for NBC last week among adults 18 to 49: The network had just one show in the top twenty (The Office) and a mere five in the top 40 (The Biggest Loser, Law & Order: SVU, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock).