LOS ANGELES (REUTERS/NYTIMES) - CBS Corp's airing of the 59th Annual Grammy Awards drew 26.05 million viewers on Sunday night, up 4 per cent from last year, according to Nielsen data.
Last year's show, which aired on a Monday night, attracted an audience of 24.95 million viewers. Sunday night's telecast was also larger than the 2015 Grammys, which drew 24.82 million viewers.
Among adults aged 18 to 49, the demographic most attractive to advertisers who buy commercial time on award shows, the Grammys' rating rose slightly to 7.8 this year from 7.7 in 2016.
The Grammys continued a promising streak for award shows in 2017, following the Golden Globes' uptick in viewership last month. Last year, audiences declined for shows including the Academy Awards and Primetime Emmys.
Along with major sporting events, the Grammys are one of the most-viewed events in television.
This year's Grammys - which featured a showdown between Adele and Beyoncé, including live performances from both - returned to Sunday night after broadcasting on a holiday Monday last year.
The show also featured a new host, James Corden of CBS's The Late Late Show, who had a more active role in the show than the Grammy's former master of ceremonies, LL Cool J. The ceremony, at a little more than 3 1/2 hours, was a long one.
This is the third straight year that the Grammys ratings have held relatively steady: In 2014 it had 25.3 million viewers; last year it notched 25 million.
The numbers are a reassuring sign for TV executives who have been keeping an eye on live event ratings, which had begun to experience a sudden decline in the last two years. The NFL saw ratings declines this season, and this year's Super Bowl had a slightly smaller viewership.
And nearly every awards show - from the Oscars to the Emmys to the American Music Awards - has seen declines after several years of growing viewership.
The Grammys surge Sunday may be a sign of a better year. The Golden Globes likewise bucked the trend last month, when it brought in 20 million viewers, an uptick of 8 per cent compared with last year's ceremony.