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.