Ratings: 2020 Billboard Music Awards Ceremony Declines Sharply From 2019

The 2020 Billboard Music Awards ceremony did not post big numbers.

BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS -- Show -- 2020 BBMA at the Dolby Theater, Los Angeles, California -- Pictured: (l-r) In this image released on October 14, Post Malone accepts awards from host Kelly Clarkson onstage for the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, broadcast on October 14, 2020 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. -- (Photo by: Christopher Polk/NBC)

Airing later in the year, distant from the voting eligibility period, absent media hype and without a live crowd, the 2020 Billboard Music Awards ceremony unsurprisingly endured a big ratings drop.

According to preliminary live+same-day data from NBC, the broadcast scored a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating and averaged a 3.6 million overall viewers. The numbers markedly trail the 2.1 rating and 8.0 million viewer mark garnered by last year’s show.

On the positive side, the ceremony improved upon NBC’s recent performances in the Wednesday 8-11PM timeslot. It also handily beat ABC’s “The Con” and CBS’ “SWAT” re-run in the 10PM hour.

Last year’s show, as noted, aired in the show’s usual spring timeframe (May 1). It also aired in a far more favorable social climate, as there was no pandemic preventing the show from featuring a live crowd or optimizing its lineup.

Last year’s show also aired in a more favorable competitive climate; FOX’s music-oriented “The Masked Singer” markedly outperformed the BBMAs in the 8PM hour this year.

Still, the show still had the draw of live music, the Billboard brand cachet, and a handful of big-name performers working in its favor. As such, it is hard to treat the performance as positive.

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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