Grammys Can Celebrate Hitting Flat Ratings Note

The Recording Academy has faced similar pressures, if not quite as ostentatiously, before delivering a mostly entertaining show — with an expanded list of nominees in key categories — emceed by Alicia Keys, after two years of CBS latenight host James Corden.
Notably, some of the proposed “fixes” for Oscar ratings didn’t seem to be a major issue for the Grammys. For starters, ABC has been eager to trim the broadcast’s length, holding it close to three hours. The Grammys ran several minutes past their allotted 3 ½-hour window, despite abruptly cutting Drake’s acceptance speech short and playing off some of the more long-winded winners.
Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez at the Grammys.

Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez at the Grammys.

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CBS did cite some other encouraging metrics, including the Grammys’ status as the “most social” awards telecast this season, and a significant increase on digital platforms. Overall, more than 40 million viewers watched at least part of the broadcast.
On the down side, the continued slide among younger adults is surely a concerning trend, if part of a larger challenge facing broadcasting in general as TV consumption habits change.
The Oscars, of course, cap a dizzying run of award shows — many of them televised — that drag out over more than two months. Given that saturation and the sometimes-repetitive nature of these affairs — such as Lady Gaga singing “Shallow” on Sunday, and due to reprise that in two weeks on the Oscars — the top ceremonies seem to be fighting an ongoing battle to resist the pull of gravity.
    Still, Sunday’s Grammy results — paired with relatively flat numbers for the Golden Globes in January — provide some hope that audience tune-in could be flattening out, or at least settling around a new normal. The hope also lingers that having more popular nominees in the best-picture mix — including “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star is Born” — will boost interest, and thus viewership.
    That might not be enough to make Oscar organizers sleep easy, but in the current awards climate, just holding serve ratings-wise, as the Grammys did, is beginning to look like a victory.

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