‘Live From E!’ Linear Viewership Up 30% For 2024 Awards Coverage As NBCUniversal Deploys Multi-Platform Event Strategy

EXCLUSIVE: There’s no doubt award shows are making at least a little bit of a comeback, and as viewership for the major ceremonies has ballooned this year, so has interest in what’s going on behind the scenes.

From red carpet coverage to backstage content, people want to know what the stars are up to now that no one is on strike and production is ramping up on high-profile projects — and it looks like they’re flocking to Live From E! to see it all unfold.

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Live From E! is currently averaging 735K viewers across the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys and People’s Choice Awards, marking a 30% audience increase over these four ceremonies last year (or, in 2022 for the Emmys), according to data from NBCUniversal.

“I think that we did see that as part of this first quarter post-strike…celebrities in Hollywood really wanting and having the opportunity to talk about their projects again and celebrate that. You are definitely seeing that as a reflection on our carpet in terms of audience interest,” Jen Neal, NBCU’s executive vice president of live events and specials, told Deadline.

Some growing interest in awards coverage is to be expected, since most of the major award shows have also seen year-over-year audience increases, including the Grammys and the Oscars. Neal also credits the overall resurgent interest in live television, which has been fueled by a year filled with hard-to-miss moments from the Super Bowl to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.

Live From E! linear coverage scored its best Grammys telecast in 7 years in total viewers, while the red carpet alone brought in 1.5M viewers — E!’s overall best telecast for any program on the network in nearly 4 years, growing for the third year in a row. As for Live from E!: Grammys After Party, that saw its best telecast in six years, also growing for the third consecutive year.

Just last week, the E! saw its highest-rated day of Oscar programming in the 18-49 demo since 2020 and third consecutive year of growth. The red carpet telecast was up 36% in the demo versus last year.

As for the People’s Choice Awards, that red carpet coverage tripled its audience in the past two years to deliver 402,000 viewers on E!

There are two noteworthy exceptions here, which are the SAG Awards and the Emmys.

The Emmys actually hit another all-time low in January with just 4.6M tuning in to watch the ceremony on Fox. In fact, it was down a whopping 37% from the last time the Emmys aired on Fox in 2019. Yet, somehow, Live From E! saw some significant audience growth. On linear, the coverage was up 11% in minutes watched year-over-year.

The SAG Awards didn’t air on linear television, like all the others did. Instead, the show streamed live on Netflix, and the streamer has not released any numbers regarding its performance. According to Nielsen, the ceremony tallied around 170M viewing minutes. By Netflix’s standards, that translates to about 860,000 views, which is pretty significantly below the show’s performance on linear TV.

Beyond linear, the show is also leaning into digital and social platforms to tap a younger audience, which appears to be working as E!’s awards season coverage delivered 874M engagements and nearly 1B video minutes viewed across platforms. That’s up 4% and 10%, respectively, versus last season.

Neal tells Deadline that the social audience, which is four times more likely to be in the 18-34 demo compared to the linear viewership, is a top priority for the network.

“The big portion of the growth and of our strategy has been to connect with this younger audience that is on all the digital and social platforms and streaming,” Neal said. “It’s not one size fits all in terms of what that audience expects.”

Live From E! scored some impressive audience growth via social across each award show as well, particularly the Oscars and People’s Choice Awards. Coverage of the former delivered 241M social video views and social post engagements. Meanwhile the latter was responsible for more than 400M video views.

Part of the strategy on social includes keeping the conversation going in the days following the ceremony, according to Neal.

“People want to engage with the stuff after the show. They want to talk about it with their friends socially,” she said. “They want to share the information and actually the next day, the 24- or 48-hour cycle, after the shows and after these red carpets are when we’re also seeing this turbo charge engagement.”

E!’s online audience skews young and female, so the content posted there is meant to service them. For example, one might have caught the viral video of Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey sneaking onto the Grammys red carpet via a backdoor entrance. That’s the type of behind-the-scenes content that the social audience craves, Neal said.

E! also attached bespoke cameras to its famous glambot this year to capture content of celebrities as they were making the slow-motion videos, because “what we learned from the past years was that the fans were actually wanting to understand a little bit more of what was happening behind the scenes of that.”

Next up for E! is the MET Gala, and there’s another Emmys coming up just around the corner as well. As the brand looks toward the future of its Hollywood event coverage, “we are always thinking about ways to tie into what’s happening with the celebrities [and] the stories they’re trying to tell” in more interesting ways across different platforms.

“It’s really our chance to connect with these younger audiences, and it’s truly now this multi-platform story of how we’re delivering this content that’s bespoke to audiences wherever they are,” Neal said.

Live From E! is produced by Den of Thieves with executive producers Jesse Ignjatovic, Evan Prager and Barb Bialkowski.

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