2018 Grammys: Estimates Show Ratings Slip 20 Percent

Music's Biggest Night faces TV's Biggest Viewership Decline

The 2018 Grammys slipped over 20 percent in ratings from last year's event, putting Music's Biggest Night in danger of securing its lowest ratings. Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/REX Shutterstock

Ratings for the 2018 Grammys slipped over 20 percent from last year's event, putting Music's Biggest Night in danger of securing its lowest ratings in modern history.

Nielsen Media's overnight returns showed the 2018 Grammys scoring a 12.7 rating in metered markets, a significant fall from last year's 16.0; ratings signify the percentage of viewership in certain households and not the overall number of viewers. 

Variety paints a grimmer viewership picture: While the 2017 Grammys drew over 26 million viewers, when the final tally is determined, the 2018 ceremony is expected to max out at around 17.6 million viewers, a drop of nearly 10 million watchers. Full viewership data for CBS' Grammy coverage will be available later on Monday. (One ominous sign: Sunday's new episode of ABC's Shark Tank actually saw improved ratings compared to last Sunday.)

The Hollywood Reporter writes that the 20 percent dip could be the biggest drop in ratings since 2013, the year after viewership for the 2012 Grammys received a boost from a planned tribute to Whitney Houston. The 2012 Grammys holds the largest viewership in the show's history with over 39 million people tuning in.

Similarly, the 2018 Grammys – while star-studded – didn't conjure up pre-show anticipation like the 2017 ceremony's heated showdown between Adele's 25 and Beyonce's Lemonade alongside those two artists' performances. The 2017 Grammys also benefitted ratings-wise from previously announced tributes to Prince and George Michael.

As Deadline notes, the Grammys' shift to earlier in the calendar – on average, the ceremony airs two weeks later around Valentine's Day – also likely cut into viewership, as did a busy Sunday night television slate that included WWE's Royal Rumble event and the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead.