Other than NFL playoff games, there’s no bigger annual spotlight for CBS than the Grammy Awards, which airs Sunday.
Last year’s show was 2017’s No. 9 most-watched single telecast by Nielsen, with 27.6 million viewers in Nielsen’s live-plus-seven ratings. It was the only non-sports entry on the top 10 list (other than The Oscars on ABC, which ranked fifth overall with 34.2 million) and was almost 10 million ahead of the most-watched regularly-scheduled program—Sunday Night Football, which averaged 18.6 million viewers in 2017.
The Grammy Awards is always one of CBS’ biggest promotional opportunities, but there’s a bit of a wrench in the schedule this year: NBC’s Winter Olympics kicks off Feb. 8 for 18 days, delaying CBS’ midseason premieres and shaking up its regular February schedule. The network is running a special celebrity edition of Big Brother for two hours each night (beginning Wednesday, Feb. 7) during most of the Olympics’ run.
Every four years, the Grammys shifts ahead a couple weeks from February to January, getting ahead of both the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl while forcing CBS to rethink its promo strategy for the telecast.
“It’s certainly a bit of a unique year, scheduling-wise, for the Grammys, because there’s a ton of stuff going on that [we] have to work around,” said CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl. “But we’ve had this happen before, and we’re confident we’ll get people to the Grammys and … let them know about all the great shows we have.”
CBS will push its freshman hits—including Young Sheldon, SEAL Team and S.W.A.T.—during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, as well as its midseason shows that will premiere after the Winter Olympics: sitcom Living Biblically (Feb. 26) and drama Instinct (March 18).
“It’s never a bad time to promote all the shows on your schedule,” said Kahl. “There’s no reason that all you’re promoting has to be on the following week. You don’t have to do that. You can also do some more generic spots: ‘Hey, come check us out!’ I don’t think that’s a concern.”
On Sunday, the network is also making the most of its biggest piece of Grammy promotion: the show’s host, James Corden. He will head right back to L.A. after the telecast to host a new episode of The Late Late Show the following night.