BET hit numerous high notes last night during its annual BET Awards presentation.
Too bad one of them wasn’t from a viewership standpoint.
The show’s 5.8 million viewers – while among the largest audiences for a non-sports cable show this year — was the lowest for the industry’s most-watched awards show since 5.4 million viewers tuned into the 2004 BET Awards event.
More than 6.3 million viewers viewed last year’s show and caught performances from Beyonce, Diddy, T.I. Stevie Wonder, 50 Cent and others.
On paper, this year’s roster of performers looked to be one of the show’s best ever. From hip-hop artist Lil’ Wayne, who’s latest album became the first of the year to debut with more than 1 million units sold, to perennial hit makers like Chris Brown, Alicia Keys, Keyshia Cole, Kanye West, Ne-Yo and T-Pain, the show featured a virtual who’s who of today’s Billboard top singles and album chart toppers.
And for those well versed in old school R&B it was great to hear BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Rev. Al Green belt out his big 70’s hits Let’s Stay Together and Love and Happiness.
Yet despite heavy promotion on BET and BET.com and, arguably, a better overall live show than last year, the BET Awards ‘08 show failed to match last year’s performance on the Nielsen ratings stage.
And that can’t be sweet music to BET’s ears.