10 Highest-Rated Specials of 2019: From Oscars to 'Little Mermaid Live'

The Emmys missed the cut this year, but the rest of these did not


With increased competition and a general downward trend in live viewing, television specials tend to feel, well, less special with each passing year. There are still quite a few annual must-see live-TV hours — and no, we’re not even talking about sports (for this one).  From the Oscars to the Emmys and everything toward the top, TheWrap ranked the 10 highest-rated broadcast-television entertainment specials of 2019. All numbers in this story come from Nielsen’s Live + Same Day data set and measures adults 18-49, the demographic most sought after by advertisers on entertainment programming.  Thanks to ABC’s “The Little Mermaid Live,” we’ve got a musical on the list again this year. We declined to include the Oscars red carpet half-hours this time around, as they would bump a few standalone specials from the Top 10.  

Rank: 10  Special: American Music Awards  Date: Nov. 24, 2019  Net: ABC  18-49 rating: 1.72  Also Read: Ratings: AMAs Fall to Another Record Low in Demo Despite Even More Taylor Swift Than Last Year

Rank: 9  Special: “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family/The Jeffersons”  Date: May 22, 2019  Net: ABC  18-49 rating: 1.74  Also Read: Viola Davis, Tiffany Haddish and More Join ABC’s ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Good Times’

Rank: 8  Special: Thanksgiving Day Parade (CBS)Date: Nov. 28, 2019  Net: CBS  18-49 rating: 1.78  Also Read: 16 Best Thanksgiving TV Episodes and Specials Ever (Photos)

Rank: 7  Special: Country Music Awards  Date: Nov. 13, 2019  Net: ABC  18-49 rating: 1.96  Also Read: Ratings: CMAs Slip to Another Record Low in Key Demo, But Rise in Total Viewers

Rank: 6  Special: Billboard Music Awards  Date: May 1, 2019  Net: NBC  18-49 rating: 2.08  Also Read: How Kelly Clarkson’s Talk Show ‘Kellyoked’ Its Way to the Hottest Syndicated Launch Since 2012

Rank: 5  Special: “Little Mermaid Live!”  Date: Nov. 5, 2019  Net: ABC  18-49 rating: 2.60  Also Read: Live TV Musicals Ranked by Ratings, From ‘Little Mermaid’ to ‘Rent’ (Photos)

Rank: 4  Special: Golden Globes  Date: Jan. 6, 2019  Net: NBC  18-49 rating: 5.27  Also Read: 19 Golden Globes Nominations Snubs and Surprises, From ‘When They See Us’ to Cate Blanchett (Photos)

Rank: 3  Special: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade  Date: Nov. 28, 2019  Net: NBC  18-49 rating: 5.49  Also Read: Tito Ortiz and Alberto Del Rio on Going From Real Punches to Pro-Wrestling Punches – and Back

Rank: 2  Special: Grammys  Date: Feb. 10, 2019  Net: CBS  18-49 rating: 5.61  Also Read: 26 Stars Who Only Need a Grammy to EGOT, From Liza Minnelli to Al Pacino (Photos)

Rank: 1  Special: Oscars  Date: Feb. 24, 2019  Net: ABC  18-49 rating: 7.70  Also Read: Why the Oscars Could Be Walking Into a Diversity Minefield This Season
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