VMA ratings: Biggest MTV audience ever


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Lady Gaga is going to have to host the show next year to top this. MTV’s annual Video Music Awards just scored its biggest audience ever last night — 12.4 million viewers.

Not only are those record-setting numbers for the VMAs, but last night’s show was also the most-watched single telecast in MTV’s history. The viewership is up 9 percent from last year’s show and stands as the most-watched non-sports cable telecast of the year (VMA winners and losers here).

UPDATE: Jersey Shore, which served as a lead in (recap here), netted a good — but not record setting — 8 million viewers. The pilot preview of I Want My Pants Back (exclusive trailer here) landed 5.1 million viewers after the show — though quite a drop off from the VMAs, that’s still a strong sampling for MTV, especially for a scripted show. The comedy is set to debut Jan. 2012.

Read more:
MTV VMAs 2011: Best/Worst Style
MTV VMAs 2011: Grading the Performances
MTV 2011 VMAs: Beyonce’s baby bump, the moving Amy Winehouse tribute, and other memorable moments
The MTV Video Music Awards was a conservative show, not a bad thing: A review
MTV 2011 VMAs: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Adele big winners
Tyler, the Creator: Learn more about the potty-mouthed 2011 VMAs’ Best New Artist winner

Comments (66 total) Add your comment
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  • Kat

    Britney always brings the ratings. Too bad they screwed up her tribute.

    • Nelly

      I agree. The tribute was kind of disapointing but at least she looked happy.

      • Cain

        After the Adele performance, MTV should have canceled the Spears tribute.

      • Jane

        It’s a complete waste of time. I would rather watch grass grow in my front yard than spend my time watching this stupid PR stunt.

      • gaga

        Well apparently Jane 12,4 million other ppl disagreed. that is a great number for a stupid PR stunt

      • JVC

        They should have brought out Rebecca Black for the finale. It would have been the cherry on top of a mountain of pure B S

      • LOL

        America loves crap.

      • 3OH3

        Katy looked great.

    • Jonathan

      Yeah, they just used her

      • ike4nsync

        Media is so clueless. They’ll trip over themselves to give Gaga and Beyonce the credit when MTV knows its Britney being there that brings the ratings numbers up.

      • Mark

        Wait. You say that it’s Britney bringing the ratings up but the ratings have been climbing since 2009 and Britney hasn’t even been there since 2008.

      • Jane

        Aren’t they all from the same record company? It sure seems that way to me.

      • jessie j

        If Britney brought in the viewers then why is everyone talking about Beyonce the day after the VMA’s?

    • wakeforce

      Yeah, Britney is what brough in viewers. NOT! (see how I used a tired reference from the 90s while talking about Britney!)
      This answers the question of why MTV still shows the awards.

    • Foreverbeyonce

      Yes she does and what does mtv do for her, give her a lame tribute and a “vanguard award” that looked just like a moon man. She isnt allowed to speak since the mic was hogged by fame hog lady copy and paste, her “tribute” if thats what you call it was like 2 seconds…then get this Britney says all these very nice things about.. Beyonce then presents her show?!! REALLY?!! MTV?!! REALLY?!! Dont get me wrong ill fight for Beyonce, but Britney was done WRONG!!!! very very WRONG!

      • Bill

        Tambem nao gostei da muisca do paramore no episodio, acho que sai do contexto Britney. Glee pode ser dividido em duas categorias: episf3dios bons por causa das muiscas (Britney/Brittany) e episf3dios bons por causa da historia (Grilled Cheesus), por isso que Glee e9 te3o bom, consegue ir do bom para o melhor. Adorei a Brittany nesse terceiro episodio, sempre com as melhores tiradas, mas a cena da Rachel no hospital cantando para o pai da Kurt ficou horrivel. Por isso que gosto de Glee, consegue fazer dois episodios bons com temas diferentes sem perder a piada.

  • Cain

    Record numbers of people tune to see mediocrity.

    • MC

      A lot of the performances last night were actually excellent.

      • Cain

        Adele was the only good performance.

      • 3OH3

        Adele is so above this kind of crap.

    • Amy

      America loves crap and Lady Gaga is the biggest example of that.

      • Little comment

        Women’s opinions don’t matter here, you sIut!

  • Kyle

    12.4 million people are idiots

    • doug

      seriously, why do people like you even visit ew.com? I think you’d be much more happy reading some indie blog roll.

      • Robin

        Forget about indie. Britney Spears was the only thing I came to see last night, and she didn’t even win. She was robbed. What a bunch of B S

  • Spiros

    Lol , Gaga promo commercials , Gaga opening , Gaga presenting Britney , the Amy tribute , the trailer premiere, Shore ..im not surprised ! Gaga was legendary yday!

    • Yeah Right

      I’m sorry… but the viewership had NOTHING to do with that vapid waste, gaga.

      • lefty

        Agreed. I fast forwarded through all of her parts.

      • Sudarshan

        pathetic obviously you wont go for bientry your a fan of beyonce! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahais that what only beyonce got? not wondering shes fading into thin air now. look at the fake you are talking about . shes got the whole world attention. not needing to show her ass off . see the difference and put your maturity. they both excel in their own ways. not the only one your talking.

  • ben


  • Peet

    This is why MTV is awful. It’s viewers demand it.

    • Perpetua

      You know your being pathetic anawyy like i said britney fans are as fake as she is and ill never win so im just gonna say it like it is, Beyonce won 6 grammys this year bringing her total up to 16, how many did britney win this year??? hmmm thought so

  • Bec

    Face it, it was The Hunger Games teaser that brought in a boatload of young adults (myself included).

    • Jane

      That was the only reason I could find to watch & I still didn’t watch it. I just figured I’d read about it all the next day. I do have to say that I’m getting really tired of everyone talkin about their alternate personalities though. Beyonce, minaj, gaga. It’s like they want to be so weird that being themselves isn’t good enough, they have to come up with more people to be. UGH!

  • Allie

    I think it got so many viewers because the show was supposed to have a lot of big things this year that people were looking forward to, like Gaga, the Hunger Games teaser, the Britney tribute, and the Amy tribute. Plus having Jersey Shore, which a lot of people watch, as a lead-in, and surprises like beoynce’s pregnancy prolly brought in more viewers.

    • DTF

      agreed. i think it was a combination of all those things. they got all the big names in one place Gaga, Beyonce, Britney, Katy, Adele, Nicki. 2011 is the year of the female pop star. i’m surprised they snubbed the other it girl Rihanna.

      • jase

        Let’s face it. The last two years in the music industry have been all about the female singers and one boy named justin bieber.

  • Bobby

    That show was a big steaming pile of crap last night.Is it absolutely necesssary to be dropping F-Bombs every other word?

    • @Bobby

      they THINK it’s cool!

  • Brian Wallace

    Maybe this is an inversely proportional thing. If the show was actually exciting or interesting or controversial or showcased good music (the horror!) maybe it would only draw 200,000 viewers.


  • Debbie

    You always hope you’ll be surprised by actual music. It’s a circus and GooGoo was leading the parade. He/she is pitiful. One has to try to outdo the next by gimmicks. Music being great will stand up without all the crap!

  • freelisa

    I think that Hurricane Irene had the largest concentration of the American population, ie, the ENTIRE EAST COAST stuck inside their homes watching TV till the power went out. hahaha

  • Aurora Loustaunau

    This Vma’s SUCKED!!! I was very very disappointed. Come on Mtv what the hell happened to you guys? And a tribute to Britney Spears? Really?! I suggest you guys get a really good host next year and stick to what you guys do best…music! Stop all this Reality shows. The Real world was good enough.

    • Foreverbeyonce

      Her tribute is long overdue! Mtv did a poor job excuting what could have been a great show. Britney deserved better!

  • planet pitbull

    it was pitbull who brought the ratings up
    just check his youtube views..In this year .He has more views than gaga, Bieber, Beyonse, Spears together…

    • 3OH3

      not that idiot.. r u kidding??

  • bRand

    Agree with Ike…advertising started with Britney and then the Gaga promos came out. Britney brings the numbers and Gaga helped them climb even higher!…just wish the tribute to BSpears would have been longer!

    • Candice

      is that what it was called, it was more like 2 seconds and then Britney introducing Beyonce performance. Mtv should be ashamed, they contiue to use Britney Spears knowing very well with her ratings come!

    • Antonio

      Now it couldn’t be htoetr. In fact, Beyonce s baby news set a new Twitter record. According to Twitter’s official global PR feed, @TwitterGlobalPR, Twitter users fired off a record-breaking 8,868 tweets per second on Monday at 10:35 p.m. e28093 just moments after she announced her pregnancy during the MTV Video Music Awards.

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