The 2020 Grammy Awards marked a historic night for Billie Eilish, but that didn't provide the telecast a boost in the ratings department. Eilish, who became the youngest artist in history to sweep all four of the night's major categories at just 18-years-old, couldn't help bring in viewers to the show, as the 62nd annual edition of music's biggest night is now the least-watched telecast ever, based on the early numbers.
According to Neilson, 16.5 million viewers tuned in to the Grammys. That represents an 8 percent drop compared to last year which, at the time, was the lowest-rated telecast in the show's history. The Grammy Awards aired on CBS and the show was hosted by Alicia Keys. while that still stands as a large number of eyeballs that tuned into the network for a series of live performances from the likes of Lizzo and Lil Nas X, it signals a downward trend that has been present in many major events in recent years. Not just the Grammys.
In recent years, thanks to the splintered habits of viewers in the rise of Netflix and the streaming era, major awards shows have struggled to boost ratings numbers. The Oscars, Golden Globes and even certain major sporting events have had trouble bringing in the same, massive audiences they once were able to. This doesn't mean that such awards shows and major events are in any real danger of going off the air, but the expectation that they can be country-wide, must-see events is changing, and will continue to change. Considering that more and more people are cord-cutting in favor of paying for streaming services instead, the Grammy Awards may have to evolve going forward.
As for the ceremony itself, it included tributes from Lizzo and others to Kobe Bryant, who passed away hours before the show in a tragic helicopter crash. Meanwhile, Billie Eilish took home five awards in total, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. Her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, with the hit single Bad Guy leading the way, let her to a historic night. Eilish, who is set to record the theme song for the upcoming James Bond movie No Time to Die, is just the second person in history to win all four major awards in the same night, alongside Christopher Cross.
Even though the ratings took a pretty steep dive when compared to 2019, CBS still had the top-rated program of the night on Sunday, for whatever that may be worth. Part of the problem, for the Grammys anyway, is that people can keep up with the winners via social media, which makes it unnecessary to watch the show on TV in many ways. Perhaps CBS can cut a streaming deal with Twitter or a major streaming service next year? Adapt or die, as it were. This news comes to us via Deadline.