L-R: Kane Brown and Anthony Mackie (Courtesy of AP)
The CMT Music Awards aired for the first time on CBS and Paramount Plus on Monday night, drawing 5.16 million viewers for the live telecast in early Nielsen numbers, which is up 521% from last year’s show on Paramount-owned cable channel CMT.
The 5.16 million total viewer tally accounts for both linear ratings on CBS, and live streams via television sets for Paramount Plus and other digital CBS platforms. The final Live + Same Day ratings for the 2022 CMT Awards, including out-of-home-viewing, will be released later on Tuesday. CBS is currently projecting a final viewership of 5.5 million.
That’s nowhere near the 8.9 million that CBS scored with this year’s Grammys on April 3, a number that is just modestly above what the 2021 Grammys settled for as a record low, but is impressive for an award show making its broadcast debut.
Hosted by Kelsea Ballerini, who led the Nashville-based ceremony from home after she tested positive for COVID-19, Kane Brown and Marvel star Anthony Mackie, the CMT Awards aired from 8-11 p.m. on CBS. The 5.16 million viewers who tuned in for the show led CBS to an easy win against the other Big 4 broadcast networks in terms of primetime viewership for the evening. CBS tied with ABC for first place in the key adults 18-49 demo, with both bringing in a 0.6 rating.
According to CBS, social media content related to the 2022 CMT Awards attracted 2.5 billion “potential social impressions.”
“For the first time ever, the CMT Awards aired live on CBS and Paramount Plus to record success, showcasing our linear and streaming partnership and enabling us to welcome more incredible fans to celebrate the best of country music,” a Paramount spokesperson said on Tuesday. “One of our goals at Paramount is to maximize our biggest awards shows — including the Grammys and Tonys — and this collaboration is another win for our company, providing a terrific opportunity to amplify the CMT brand through broader distribution.”
The CMT Awards will return to their cable channel origins on Friday, when CMT debuts “CMT Music Awards Extended Cut,” a version of Monday’s award show with “an added 30 minutes of new performances and extra bonus content.” The extended version of the 2022 CMT Awards will air Friday from 8-11:30 p.m. ET on CMT.
Variety's Jennifer Maas contributed to this post.