VMAs 2020 ratings drop 5% to 6.4M viewers across platforms

The 2020 VMAs were a hot mess.

Ratings are in for the annual awards show, which went on Sunday despite the challenge of social distancing. According to Variety, the show drew 6.4 million viewers across all ViacomCBS platforms during the simulcast, a 5% drop from 2019. That number includes the pre-show, main event, post-show and encores; no figures were available for only the two-hour primetime broadcast.

By comparison, last year’s event — including the two-hour primetime show itself, hosted by comedian Sebastian Maniscalco — drew an audience of 6.8 million for all programming. The 2019 primetime event itself attracted 4.9 million total viewers.

The MTV production, which saw performances from Miley Cyrus, BTS and others, was the first major awards show of the COVID-19 pandemic. It attempted to pull off a “live” event — but lacked the energy of years prior by a wide margin.

Hosted by “Hustlers” actress-singer Keke Palmer, statues went out to artists including The Weeknd, who won video of the year for “Blinding Lights,” and Lady Gaga, who picked up the most Moon Persons with five awards.

But the mood was somber amid the death of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman — not to mention the ongoing toll of the pandemic and the unrest brought to light by Black Lives Matter protestors. ABC aired “Black Panther” commercial-less Sunday evening to honor the late actor, which may have diverted viewers from the awards.

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga perform during the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 30.

Getty Images for MTV

Keke Palmer hosts the 2020 VMAs.

Getty Images for MTV

The Weeknd performs at Edge at Hudson Yards for the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.

Getty Images for MTV

In this photo illustration, Jungkook, J-Hope, RM, Suga, V, Jin and Jimin of BTS, viewed on a laptop, perform during the event.

Photo Illustration by Cindy Ord/

DaBaby performs onstage at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.

Getty Images for MTV

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