More evidence that awards shows aren’t dead yet: ABC’s broadcast Wednesday of the 43rd annual CMA Awards dominated the ratings and posted year-to-year gains.
The CMAs notched 16.8 million viewers and a 5.2/14 in adults 18-49, according to preliminary fast national Nielsen data. That’s up nearly 1 million viewers from last year’s show and a gain of 4 percent in the demo.
The CMAs also scored their biggest numbers in women 18-34 in six years (thanks, Taylor Swift).
For a few years, awards ratings seemed to be in an unstoppable downward spiral. But several recent telecasts, including the Emmys and Grammys, and now the CMAs, have registered gains this year.
In addition to tweaking formats, networks are also being much smarter about promoting awards shows. ABC, for example, aired a primetime interview special with country music superstars Tuesday, teeing up Wednesday’s show.
Elsewhere on the ratings front, CBS did well opposite the CMAs, with its 8 p.m. comedies both notching double dight gains over last week. Fox’s "Glee" returned from hiatus with the same ratings (3.3/8) it had three weeks ago.
Over in latenight, final numbers are in for Fox’s new "Wanda Sykes Show." It averaged a 0.9/3 last Saturday. That’s down roughly 15 percent from what "Mad TV" earned in the slot last fall, but up markedly from Fox’s experimental 11 p.m. broadcasts of "Talkshow with Spike Feresten (0.6/2).