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2023 Grammy Awards’ TV ratings rise from the record lows of recent years

Trevor Noah hosts the 65th Grammy Awards.
Trevor Noah hosts at the 65th Grammy Awards, held at Crytpo.com Arena on Feb. 5, 2023.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
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Viewership for CBS’ coverage of the Grammy Awards was up 30.8% from last year, but still the third-lowest on record.

The first 3 hours, 12 minutes of Sunday’s ceremony from Crypto.com Arena averaged 12.545 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen. Under Nielsen rules, the ratings cover the time from the start of the ceremony until the end of the final commercial break.

The ceremony’s final 42 minutes ran without commercials and were considered a separate program. It averaged 10.139 million viewers, second among prime-time programs airing between Jan. 30 and Sunday.

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The 2022 ceremony, which was delayed to April due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles area, averaged 9.587 million viewers, airing when television viewing is traditionally lower because of better weather and more sunshine caused by the shift to daylight saving time.

The Grammys set a record low in 2021, 9.227 million, when much of the ceremony was virtual.

The only Grammy ceremonies on record to average fewer than 17 million viewers have come since 2021. Like nearly all forms of programming, viewership for awards shows has declined in recent years because of increased options available on streaming services, including the same programs as on traditional television. Figures are available dating back to 1977. The record audience for the Grammys was in 1984, when it averaged 51.671 million. Michael Jackson won a record eight awards.

CBS had each of the eight top-ranked prime-time programs and 10 of the top 11 for its second victory in the 20-week-old 2022-23 prime-time television season, both coming in the last two weeks.

CBS averaged 5.26 million viewers, NBC 2.89 million and ABC 2.73 million.

CBS’ “Young Sheldon” was the week’s highest-rated scripted program, averaging 7.31 million viewers, third for the week. Each of its 11 first-run episodes this season has been its week’s top comedy.

The NBC crime drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” lead all non-CBS programs, finishing ninth, averaging 5.338 million viewers.

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“Celebrity Jeopardy!” was ABC’s ratings leader for the second consecutive week, finishing 14th, averaging 4.838 million viewers.

Fox averaged 2.26 million viewers for its prime-time programming. “9-1-1: Lone Star” was its top program for the second time in its two episodes of the season, finishing 21st, averaging 4.052 million viewers.

The CW averaged 400,000 viewers. Its biggest draw was a rerun of the magic competition series “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” which averaged 690,000 viewers, tying for 161st among broadcast programs with an episode of the 1972-83 CBS comedy “M.A.S.H.” that aired on MeTV. Its overall ranking was not available.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of two segments of the Grammys; nine CBS scripted programs, “60 Minutes” and “The Price is Right at Night”; three NBC scripted programs and “America’s Got Talent: All-Stars”; and the ABC alternative programs “Celebrity Jeopardy!” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” Shark and its scripted series “The Rookie.”

The five editions of the Fox News Channel political talk show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” topped the cable rankings for the second consecutive week, topped by the Monday edition, which averaged 3.487 million viewers, 29th overall.

Fox News Channel won the cable network prime-time race for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.23 million viewers. ESPN was second, averaging 1.092 million viewers, and MSNBC third, averaging 1.023 million.

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The cable top 20 consisted 14 Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows (five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and four of “The Ingraham Angle”); ESPN’s coverage of Saturday’s Duke-North Carolina men’s basketball game; History’s long-running chronicle of a search for treasure on a Canadian island, “The Curse of Oak Island”; the MSNBC news and opinion program, “The Rachel Maddow Show”; the first two hour-long segments of the USA Network professional wrestling program “WWE Raw”; and the Hallmark Channel movie, “Sweeter Than Chocolate.”

“You People” was Netflix’s most-streamed program for the second consecutive week, with viewers spending 65.61 million hours watching the romantic comedy in its first full week of release, 17.9% more than the 55.65 million hours watched the previous week when it was available for three days, according to figures released by the streaming service Tuesday.

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