Bieber Fever broken? American Music Awards hit all-time ratings low

Kesha performs onstage during the 40th American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California

Story highlights

  • The awards show's ratings fell 21 percent from 2011
  • In a way, the performance went against the ratings trend
  • ABC pointed out that it was up against tough competition from NBC's Sunday Night Football
Has Bieber Fever broken?
Justin Bieber swept the top categories at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday night, winning three of the night's biggest categories. But ratings were down sharply from last year.
The AMAs telecast delivered 9.5 million viewers and a 3.4 rating on ABC, falling 21 percent from 2011 to an all-time low.
In a way, this performance goes against the ratings trend. In recent years, broadcast scripted shows have been on a downward slope thanks to cable and DVRs, but awards programs have been seemingly immune. The working theory is that the more urgency you can create around a telecast, the better the numbers. So sporting events, competition reality shows and award shows have often out-performed other types of programming because viewers want to enjoy the immediacy of the event and not get spoiled by headlines revealing the outcome the next day. Obviously, last night, not so much.
ABC points out the telecast was up against tough competition from NBC's Sunday Night Football and some NFL overrun on CBS, though sports and music award show audiences don't typically have a ton of overlap.
Chart (Note: NBC ratings are very preliminary due to live sports coverage; CBS ratings are also temporary since NFL overrun delayed the network's entertainment lineup):
FOX 7:00P NFL/ BOB'S-11/18 7P #20 1.3 3,416
7:30P CLEVELAND #17t 1.6 3,278
8:00P SIMPSONS #8t 2.5 5,185
8:30P BOBS BURGR #15 1.8 3,984
9:00P FAMILY GUY #8t 2.5 5,065
9:30P AMERICAN DAD #13 2.0 4,161
ABC 7-8P AMR-VIDEOS #16 1.7 7,468
8-11P AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS S #5 3.4 9,471
CBS 7:00P NFL OVERRUN #1 6.1 19,543
7:30P NFL/60 MINUTES #3 4.9 17,298
8:00P 60 MINUTES #6 3.2 14,145
8:30P 60 MIN/AMAZG #8t 2.5 11,450
9:00P AMAZING RACE #11 2.2 9,482
9:30P AMZG /GOOD WIFE #12 2.1 9,793
10:00P GOOD WIFE #17t 1.6 9,645
10:30P GOOD WIFE/MENTALIST #17t 1.6 9,383
NBC 7:00P FTB #14 1.9 6,317
7:30P FTBL #7 2.7 8,016
8:00P FTBL #4 4.5 12,751
830-11P SNF: RAVEN&STLRS #2 6.0 15,801