Billboard Awards Sees Record-Low Ratings As Award Shows Struggle To Come Back From Pandemic Slump


Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards on NBC saw the lowest audience in the show’s decades-long history, becoming the latest award show to suffer decreased ratings this year.

Key Facts

The three-hour-long award show garnered an average of 2.11 million viewers, according to preliminary data reported by Deadline.

The audience has been on a steady decline for years: last year’s show had 2.8 million viewers, the 2020 show had an average of 3.6 million viewers and the 2019 show had an average of roughly 8 million viewers, according to The Wrap.

Key Background

In 2020 and through 2021, most award ceremonies were forced to put on hybrid or totally virtual shows while the pandemic raged, and audiences have still not returned at full force. The Oscars, which aired in March, had their second-worst-rated show this year with 16.62 million viewers, though the audience increased 60% from last year’s record-low show. April’s Grammy Awards received 9.59 million viewers, up slightly from 2021’s record-low of 9.23 million. The 2021 Golden Globes also suffered record-low numbers, only reaching 6.9 million viewers. Because of controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Golden Globe Awards, NBC decided not to air the ceremony this year, and instead a pared-down version of the show was broadcast online. The most-recent Emmy Awards, which aired in September 2021, garnered 7.4 million viewers, up from a low of 6.4 million in 2020.

Further Reading

Oscar Ratings Up 60% From Last Year—But Still Second-Worst Ever, Final Numbers Show (Forbes)

Here’s Why NBC Won’t Air The Golden Globes Next Year (Forbes)

Audiences for award shows are in steep decline. This chart shows how far viewership has fallen (CNBC)

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