CMT Sees Viewership Gain as 'Artists of the Year' Returns

Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris and Nathan Morris CMT Artists of the Year
Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris and Nathan Morris of Boyz II Men perform during the 2021 'CMT Artist of the Year' show in Nashville (Image credit: Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT/Viacom)

The live return of the CMT Artists of the Year awards show Wednesday drew its biggest audiences since 2017.

The Artists of the Year has been sidelined since 2019 because of the pandemic, but this year’s edition televised live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

The telecast drew a 0.193 rating among people 18 to 49, up 42% from 2019, according to figures from Nielsen. The show’s share was up 90%. Among viewers 25-54, ratings were up 47% and share gained 92%.

The awards show rated highest among men 25-34 (up 8%) and it registered a 114% increase among young women 18 to 24.

While many TV awards shows have been audience challenged, the gains for the Artist of the Year telecast follows June’s CMT Music Awards, which also grew its ratings. The CMT awards were up 10% in total viewers, airing across six ViacomCBS networks as a simulcast. The CMT Music Awards will appear on CBS in 2022.

Also Read: 'MTV Movie & TV Awards' Brings in Higher Ratings With Young Viewers

The CMT Artists of the Year kicked off with Luke Combs performing his hit Forever After All and accepting his award from friend Eric Church.

The evening concluded with Walker Hayes performing his viral phenomenon Fancy Like.

The show also was big on social media, where it was the No. 3 cable telecast of the night with 167,800 interactions. Organic video viewers were up 60% to 14.5 million from 2019 and engagements were up 77% from 2019.

The 2021 CMT Artists of the Year was executive produced by CMT’s Margaret Comeaux and Switched On Entertainment’s John Hamlin. Amy Lin Johnson serves as co-executive producer. The executives in charge of production are Jackie Barba and Heather D. Graffagnino. Leslie Fram is executive in charge of talent. Shanna Strassberg is talent producer.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.