Grammy Awards: Will the Show Shake Off Its Ratings Slump?

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A red carpet, celebrities dressed to the nines, and some of music’s biggest names taking center stage to perform live; all elements of ratings gold. But that gold doesn’t always translate. The Grammys have been faced with this problem, and with the 56th iteration of the awards show being broadcast live Sunday, from 8 to 11:30 p.m. on CBS, executives are undoubtably hoping the show’s star studded line-up of singers and presenters will entice viewers.

Last year, the Grammys failed to pull off a viewership victory repeat. In 2012, television sets tuned in to the Grammys — which featured a tribute to Whitney Houston — and the award show had its second highest rating of all time with 39 million viewers. It cracked the Nielsen Top Ten of Single Telecast programs for the year, the only non-sporting event to do so. But it was business as usual in 2013. The Oscars was the award show to break the sport’s death grip on single telecasts, and viewership dropped to 28 million. The Oscars have not had less than 30 million viewers in the last decade.

Comparatively low viewership and a perception problem even has Grammy executives feeling like the ugly stepsister of the awards show family. Ken Ehrlich, the executive producer for the show, explained the mood surrounding the Grammys in a phone interview to the New Yorker. “For whatever reason, we all feel we don’t get the respect we deserve for this show,” Ehrlich said. “Movie stars just seem to be inherently more interesting to people than rock stars. I think music is simply deemed less important in terms of pop culture, even though I think more people sit around and talk about music than sit around and talk about movies.”

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