Facing Tougher Competition, Grammy Awards Down 11% From Last Year

Award Show Up Against AMC Hit 'The Walking Dead'

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Beck took home awards for Best Rock Album and Album of the Year.
Beck took home awards for Best Rock Album and Album of the Year.

AMC's ravenous ambulatory corpses appear to have taken a bite out of the Grammy Awards, as ratings for the annual gala were down from a year ago.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, CBS's broadcast of "The 57th Annual Grammy Awards" averaged 25.3 million viewers, down 11% versus last year's delivery of 28.5 million. The 219-minute spectacle also drew an 8.5 in the adults 18-49 demo, marking a 14% decline versus the year-ago 9.9 rating.

CBS also experienced a drop among the 25-54 set, averaging a 9.3 in the network's target demo, down 12% from the 10.6 rating it notched during the 2014 broadcast.

While the final ratings for the midseason premiere of AMC's "The Walking Dead" won't be available until later this afternoon, it's likely that the zombie apocalypse show may have siphoned off a cohort of viewers in the dollar demo. "The Walking Dead" is the top-rated scripted show on TV among adults 18-49, averaging a staggering 7.5 rating in the demo over the course of the first half of its fifth season.

AMC last night also counter-programmed the Grammys with the series premiere of the "Breaking Bad" prequel "Better Call Saul."

Zombies weren't an issue for CBS a year ago, as the 2014 Grammys aired in late January, when "The Walking Dead" was on hiatus. What little competition the Grammys faced last winter came courtesy of NBC, which aired the NFL Pro Bowl that same night. Pro football's all-star scrimmage delivered 11.4 million viewers and a 3.8 in the demo opposite the Grammys.

Despite the ratings slippage, the Grammys still made short work of the year's other big awards ceremony, outpacing NBC's broadcast of "The 72nd Golden Globe Awards" (19.3 million viewers, and a 5.8 rating among adults 18-49).

The Grammys also laid claim to being the most social non-sports event of the 2014-15 broadcast season, generating 13.4 million tweets, per Nielsen Social.

British crooner Sam Smith took Record of the Year and Song of the Year honors for his single "Stay With Me," while Beck struck a blow for Gen Xers by securing the Album of the Year statuette for his "Morning Phase."

Beyoncé got the nod for Best R&B Song for her "Drunk in Love." The top-selling artist of 2014, Taylor Swift, didn't take home any hardware, although her "1984" LP is eligible for an Album of the Year nod next year.

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