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iHeart Awards Ratings Peaked for Half Hour with Rihanna, Sam Smith Performances

The half hour containing a portion of Justin Timberlake’s Innovator Award acceptance speech, Rihanna’s live rendition of “Bitch Better Have My Money” and Sam Smith’s recorded version of “Lay Me Down” ranked as the most-watched portion of Sunday’s iHeartRadio Music Awards ceremony.

It tied for first place in the coveted adults 18-49 demographic.

iHeartradio Music Awards - Season 2015
Rihanna’s “BBHMM” performance came during the night’s most-watched half hour.

Covering 9-9:30PM, that half hour segment drew a 1.8 adults 18-49 rating and 5.80 million viewers. No other half hour drew as many viewers, and only the 10-10:30PM portion matched the performance in the adults 18-49 demographic.

Because awards shows (along with general television viewership levels) tend to peak between 8:30 and 10PM, the fact that the 9-9:30PM section was the ceremony’s best-performing half hour is not surprising.

The half hour does, however, deserve credit for building on the 8:30PM segment amid the introduction of competition from AMC’s “The Walking Dead” season finale. That program, which undoubtedly ranked as television’s highest-rated show Sunday, aired from 9-10:30PM.

In that sense, the fact that the 10-10:30PM segment tied the 9-9:30PM half hour’s show-leading 1.8 adults 18-49 rating is also worthy of praise.

The 10-10:30PM portion featured performances by Jason Derulo, Jamie Foxx & Chris Brown and Nate Ruess.

Containing performances by Meghan Trainor and Kelly Clarkson and the beginning of the Justin Timberlake award reveal, the 8:30-9PM half hour drew the night’s second-best viewership total (5.53 million) and tied the 9:30-10PM half hour for third-best adults 18-49 rating (1.7). That half hour, which drew 5.30 million viewers, featured the Jason Aldean and Madonna & Taylor Swift performances.

The opening 8-8:30PM half hour, which featured numbers from Iggy Azalea & Jennifer Hudson, Nick Jonas and Florida Georgia Line, drew a 1.4 with 4.98 million viewers. The 10:30-11PM segment, which featured Snoop Dogg’s performance and a pair of Taylor Swift award reveals, closed the show with a 1.6 and 4.73 million viewers.

In all, Sunday’s iHeartRadio Music Awards ceremony provided NBC with a 1.7 rating and 5.22 million viewers.

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]

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