Spurned by the popularity of Adele's honey-sweet voice and the sudden death of legend Whitney Houston, The Grammys drew a huge audience last night for CBS. The three-and-a-half-hour ceremony averaged 39 million viewers, the second-most in the history of the broadcast behind the 1984 ceremony. By contrast, this year's record-setting Super Bowl drew 111.3 million viewers, and NCIS's recently aired 200th episode drew just over 20 million viewers.
The 54th Grammy Awards also drew a 14.1 rating in the adult demo, easily winning the night and pushing the competition to lows. The Grammys' biggest competition came from Once Upon a Time, which delivered a 3.0 rating among adults. The show's last original episode posted a 3.5, proof that viewers would rather watch Adele's real-life fairy tale story than fake ones.
The awards didn't appear to be hurt much by a tape-delayed West Coast airing, though I haven't seen national splits. In this day of Twitter and Facebook spoiling everything on TV minutes after it airs, a tape-delayed broadcast is a risky move. But hey, when you dig up The Beach Boys from their graves and let them limp through "Good Vibrations," it's an event that 140 characters can't do justice.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom