American Music Awards Sink to Record-Low Ratings

ABC awards show’s viewership was nearly twice as high last year

2020 American Music Awards - Show
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp

The 2020 American Music Awards (AMAs), hosted by Taraji P. Henson, were the latest victims of the coronavirus pandemic — and of TV ratings trends in general. Sunday’s AMAs on ABC sunk to record-low ratings and nearly halved last year’s overall television audience. The annual awards show’s previous low in the key demo came last year. In terms of total viewers, the prior AMAs low was 2018. NBC topped Sunday primetime with an excellent “Sunday Night Football” game, as the Kansas City Chiefs scored a late victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. Fox finished in second place thanks to its-late-afternoon overtime NFL game leading into postgame show “The OT.” Due to the nature of live sports, consider the below Nielsen numbers for NBC and Fox subject to significant adjustment.

NBC was first in ratings with a 3.5 rating/19 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 13 million, according to preliminary numbers. Those initial Nielsen numbers are the average of pregame show “Football Night in America” and Chiefs vs. Raiders.

Fox was second in ratings with a 2.0/10 and in viewers with 7.4 million. At 7 p.m., the conclusion of the Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts combined with “The OT” to put up a 4.3/23 and 17.1 million viewers. “The Simpsons” at 8 earned a 1.5/8 and 4.7 million viewers. “Bless the Harts” at 8:30 had a 0.7/3 and 2 million viewers. At 9, “Bob’s Burgers” got a 0.6/3 and 1.7 million viewers. “Family Guy” at 9:30 received a 0.6/3 and 1.6 million viewers.

ABC was third in ratings with a 0.9/5 and fourth in viewers with 3.8 million. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” at 7 had a 0.5/3 and 4 million viewers. The AMAs from 8-11 averaged a 1.0/5 and 3.8 million viewers, which are down 41% and 43%, respectively, from 2019.

CBS was fourth in ratings with a 0.6/3 and third in viewers with 5.6 million. At 7, “60 Minutes” drew a 0.9/5 and 9 million viewers. “NCIS: Los Angeles” at 8 had a 0.6/3 and 5.6 million viewers. At 9, “NCIS: New Orleans” got a 0.5/2 and 4.8 million viewers. A rerun followed.

Univision and Telemundo tied for fifth in ratings, both with a 0.3. Univision had a 2 share, Telemundo got a 1. Univision was fifth in total viewers with 1.3 million, Telemundo was sixth with 836,000 viewers.

The CW had a 0.1/0 and 335,000 total viewers. At 8, “Pandora” had a 0.1/0 and 288,000 viewers. At 9, “The Outpost” got a 0.1/0 and 382,000 viewers.


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