By Brian Stelter, CNN
Maybe it was Beyonce, or maybe it was the Beatles. (Actually, it was probably both.) The Grammy Awards attracted 28.5 million viewers to CBS on Sunday night, which is essentially a modern-day record for the annual music awards show.
CBS described it in a press release as "the second largest audience for the awards broadcast since 1993." Awards shows in general have been on a ratings upswing in recent years. One oft-cited reason is that, since they're big live events, they stand out in an increasingly on-demand television world.
Sunday's telecast would have been the biggest since 1993, period, were it not for the tragic circumstances of the 2012 Grammys. That year, Whitney Houston died less than 24 hours before the awards telecast, causing a dramatic surge in viewership the next day. (The average viewership was about 40 million.)
The Grammys are typically the second most popular awards show of the year behind the Academy Awards. This year's average viewership was just a smidge higher than last year's average of 28.4 million. (CBS pointed out that a more apples-to-apples comparison was between this year and 2010, the last time the Grammys were scheduled in January instead of February to avoid the Winter Olympics. In 2010, 25.9 million viewers tuned in.)