Grammy Awards Rock Ratings Race

Rash Report: Music Show's Most-Watched Broadcast Since 2004

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Like the music industry it celebrates, the Grammy Awards were rocked a few years back, struggling to transition from Napster.com to iTunes and embarrassed by a loss to Fox's "American Idol" in the ratings race.

Beyonce won six Grammys, including song of the year for 'Single Ladies.'
Beyonce won six Grammys, including song of the year for 'Single Ladies.' Credit: AP
But both the industry and the award show have made something of a comeback. Apple's iTunes gave structure to the inevitable digitization of music. And preliminary fast affiliate ratings from Sunday night (final live-plus-same-day data will be released Tuesday) suggest it was the most-watched Grammy Awards since 2004, with the ad-centric adult rating up 32% to a 9.8/24 rating and share. Combined with "60 Minutes" (2.2/6), CBS belted out a first-place 7.9/20.

Beyonce won six Grammys, including song of the year for "Single Ladies." But it was actually multiple women performers from different genres, including Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, that may have spiked ratings, as each artist seems made for TV, as opposed to performers like Beck and Green Day, whose talents are undeniable, but aren't as accessible to the average viewer -- or listener.

Final numbers will reveal the Grammy gender split, but the show did seem to steal some female viewers away from the shows that usually rate highest with women 18-49: ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (2.2/5), "Desperate Housewives" (3.7/8) and "Brothers and Sisters" (2.4/6), which were off 29%, 21% and 25%, respectively, from their original-episode season averages. Earlier, up against "60 Minutes," "America's Funniest Home Videos" (2.4/7) performed better, up 14%, as ABC finished second with an overall 2.7/6.

That left Fox and NBC to fight with more male-focused shows, and as usual Fox got the better of the Peacock. Overall Fox finished third with a 2.0/5 as an all-sitcom lineup ("Til Death," 0.8/2 and 0.9/2; "The Simpsons," 2.4/6; "Cleveland Show," 2.2/5; "Family Guy," 3.2/7; "American Dad," 2.5/5) beat NBC's "Dateline" (0.9/2) and "SNL Presents: Sports All Stars" (1.2/3).

Meanwhile, the real all stars were playing on ESPN in the Pro Bowl, with ratings available tomorrow. But between the big game and the big Grammys, Fox's guy-friendly "Animation Domination" sitcoms were thrown for a loss, with "Simpsons" slipping 43%, "Cleveland Show" off 41%, "Family Guy" falling 27% and "American Dad" down 22% from their original episode averages.

Rash gridsEnlarge
See how all the shows did in the ratings.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Monday: Movie buff must: Turner Classic Movies begins its "31 Days of Oscar" with, among other films, the incomparable "Lawrence of Arabia" at 11 p.m.
Tuesday: The last "Lost" season begins on ABC.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
After weeks of repeats, CBS's entire Monday night lineup returns to original episodes, which should put the net in first place in the ratings race.

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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)

John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. For more, see rashreport.com.

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