ABC Leads Network Race For Average Total Viewers With 2018 ‘CMA Fest’

Pictured (L-R): Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini. Photo: ABC/Ed Herrera

ABC’s three hour CMA Fest broadcast, hosted by Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini, drew in 4.72 million total viewers this year (Wednesday, Aug. 8), leading all network averages in total viewership.

The numbers however were down for ABC, from 5.71 million last year, when the program aired a week later on the calendar and were the largest in three years. At the end of 2011, the CMA signed a 10-year agreement with ABC to broadcast its fest, awards and Christmas special on the network.

Nielsen’s specific live + same-day metrics saw this 15th annual broadcast fall 25 percent year-over-year in adults 18-49, averaging a 0.9/5 rating.

ABC’s CMA Fest afterparty with Jimmy Kimmel Live featured music by Brett Eldredge, and saw a bump in metered-market ratings for demo, at 0.5/3.

Elsewhere, CBS’ Big Brother maintained its lead on Wednesday with a 1.5/6 and 5.6 million viewers while NBC’s World of Dance was steady at 1.1/5 with 4.71 viewers and Masterchef earned 1.0/5 for Fox, all in the 8 p.m. hour. 24 Hours to Hell & Back earned 0.9. Overall averages saw Fox leading all networks among the 18-49 demographic with 1.0/5 (3.34 million), while ABC (4.72 million) and NBC (3.82 million) tied for second among the same demo, at 0.9/5.


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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine,, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

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