Grammys: Why the West Coast delay, CBS?

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Image Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

If you live on the west coast, chances are you probably already knew that Adele was the big winner at the Grammys before the CBS show aired on a tape delay at 8 p.m. Between social media and the round-the-clock Web coverage of entertainment, there’s no element of surprise left for Pacific coast music fans — but that won’t stop the most-watched network from waiting until prime time to air the awards show.

Why?

There’s little incentive. Though the network is well aware that Twitter is abuzz with chatter about the night’s big winners, a tweet of 140 lines just can’t do a performance by Bruno Mars and Kelly Clarkson justice — which is why the Grammys continue to attract a big audience. According to overnight ratings, the show was up 45 percent in homes versus a year ago (25.2 rating/38 share versus 17.4/27).  That’s the highest local rating in at least 22 years (overnights are based on 56 metered markets). As is routinely the case, the Grammys helped CBS to easily win the night.

That said, the network has toyed with the idea of airing the show earlier. The Oscars, for example, traditionally air live from Los Angeles — but the film awards have always been and will continue to be event television. (The Golden Globes and the Emmys have also aired live on both coasts.) Though gilded gramophones are given away during the Grammys, the show has always been and will continue to be about its high-wattage performances. Who will CBS and the music academy pair up this year? How will Whitney Houston be eulogized? What, if anything, will be shooting out of Katy Perry’s breasts?

Besides, there’s also a school of thought that social media from the East Coast can actually encourage a bigger tune-in on the West Coast. So Pacific coasters, keep enjoying those Twitter feeds: That’s probably how you’re going to learn about Grammys’ big winners for years to come.


Read more:
EW Special Coverage: Grammys 2012
Grammys 2012: See the full winners’ list
Photo Gallery: Grammys: We Grade the Performances


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