While some in the TV community wondered whether its performance would be diminished by a shift to late August from early September, the 19th iteration of MTV: Music Television's Video Music Awards
was its best, at least by one Nielsen Media Research measure.
The premiere of the 2002 VMAs averaged 11.9 million viewers on Aug. 29, making it the most-watched awards show in MTV's history.
The show's 8.3 household rating was basic cable's highest of the year to date. The 2002 VMAs also outdelivered all broadcast networks in primetime that evening, according to the network.
The 2002 event, moved to August in deference to the Sept. 11 anniversary, was down 4 percent from the 8.56 household rating recorded by the 2001 ceremony.
The show, captured live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, also delivered big time among MTV's core 12-to-34-year-old audience. It scored a 5 percent increase from last year to an 11.1 rating among that group, basic cable's best showing in that demo this year.
The 2002 VMAs now trails only the 1999 show in delivery among persons 12 to 34 in the network's history.
In addition to the main telecast, both the pre-show and post-show segments received double-digit ratings gains, with the former up 16 percent among the 12-to-34 set, while the post show expanded 33 percent to a 7.0 among that group.
The 2002 VMAs were hosted by Jimmy Fallon and featured performances from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Shakira and a reformed Guns N' Roses. Rapper Eminem led the way among the award-winners, capturing four Moonman statues, including the best video of the year for "Without Me."