CBS’ broadcast of the 51st Academy of County Music Awards from 8-11 PM last night drew 11.2 million total viewers and a 2.2 rating in adults 18-49. That was down sharply (40% in 18-49, 30% in total viewers) from last year, when the awards show drew its largest audience in 17 years. But last year, the ACM Awards did not face major competition on cable or broadcast, and this year, they aired against a much-hyped, supersized 90-minute season finale of The Walking Dead on AMC and breakout new NBC reality series Little Big Shots. Also, there was a rival music awards show, iHeartRadio Music Awards on cable, airing on TBS, TNT and TruTV, which featured one of ACM Awards’ biggest draws last year, Taylor Swift. Plus, last year’s ACM Awards telecast was extended by 30 minutes to 11:30 PM.
That said, the ceremony, which featured a duet by Dolly Parton and Katy Perry, still propelled CBS to a dominant nightly win in total viewers and adults 18-49.
Elsewhere on broadcast, the three ABC dramas — renewed Once Upon A Time (1.1 in 18-49) and Quantico (1.o) and newbie The Family (0.7) — all ticked up a tenth, rebounding from last week’s lows. NBC’s Little Big Shots dipped a tenth to 1.8 against the ACM Awards, while The Carmichael Show (1.0) and Crowded (0.8) were even with last week.
Most of Fox’s comedies were off. Downgraded to the 7 PM hour, soon-to-be-canceled Bordertown (0.4) and Cooper Barrett (0.4) hit lows, as did veteran The Simpsons (1.0). Bob’s Burgers (1.0) was steady, while The Last Man On Earth (0.9) slipped to series lows.