The inaugural BET Awards took place on June 19, 2001, at the Paris Las Vegas resort and casino in Las Vegas. The first award show was hosted by comedian Steve Harvey and featured performances by Whitney Houston, Usher, Destiny’s Child, and Jay-Z among others.
The show also included special tributes to Muhammad Ali and Aaliyah who had recently passed away. The first BET Awards drew an impressive audience of over six million viewers making it the highest-rated awards show in the history of cable television at that time.
The 2002 BET Awards proved to be a major ratings success for the network. The show garnered a total of 6.7 million viewers, making it the second-highest rated BET Awards show at the time. The event was held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood and featured performances by some of the biggest names in music, including Mary J. Blige, Nelly, and Ja Rule.
The show also included a tribute to Aaliyah, who had passed away the previous year, with performances by Missy Elliott and Ginuwine. Overall, the 2002 BET Awards was a memorable event that attracted a large audience and helped establish BET as a major player in the awards show circuit.
The 2003 BET Awards saw a dip in ratings compared to previous years. The event, which aired on June 24th, garnered a total of 4.5 million viewers, down from the 6.3 million viewers who tuned in for the previous year’s show. There were several factors that contributed to this decline in ratings including increased competition from other networks and a lackluster lineup of performers.
Additionally, some critics felt that the show’s focus on celebrity drama and controversy overshadowed the celebration of black excellence and achievement that the BET Awards are meant to represent. Despite this dip in ratings, however, the BET Awards have continued to be a highly anticipated annual event for fans of black entertainment and culture.
The 2004 BET Awards saw a significant increase in viewership, marking a major turning point for the show. The event drew an impressive 6.3 million viewers, up from just 3.5 million the previous year. This increase in viewership was due to several factors, including a star-studded lineup of performers and presenters, as well as a heightened public interest in hip-hop and R&B music at the time.
Additionally, the show’s emphasis on celebrating black excellence and promoting social justice issues helped to attract a wider audience beyond just music fans. The 2004 BET Awards marked a pivotal moment for the network and set the stage for even greater success in years to come.
The 2005 BET Awards proved to be a major turning point in the history of the show, as it marked a continued growth in ratings. The event was held at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles with performances by Kanye West, Destiny’s Child, and Mariah Carey. The show garnered over 6 million viewers, which was an increase of more than 1 million from the previous year’s event.
This significant growth in ratings was attributed to BET’s increased efforts to cater to a wider audience by featuring mainstream artists and expanding their reach beyond their core demographic. Overall, the continued success of the BET Awards demonstrated its importance as a cultural touchstone for black entertainment and music.
The 2006 BET Awards set a record-breaking viewership number, becoming the most-watched BET Awards show in history. The event, held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, attracted an audience of over 6.3 million viewers. The show featured performances from popular artists such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige and Busta Rhymes, among others. It also included memorable moments such as Kanye West’s emotional tribute to his late mother and Prince’s electrifying closing performance.
The high ratings for the 2006 BET Awards were a testament to the show’s ability to showcase black culture and entertainment on a global scale, solidifying its importance in the entertainment industry.
Despite the initial success of the BET Awards, ratings began to steadily decline from 2007-2010. In 2007, the show pulled in a record-breaking 7.2 million viewers, but by 2010, that number had dropped to just 3.4 million. There were several factors that contributed to this decline in viewership, including competition from other award shows and changes in programming at BET. Additionally, some critics argued that the show had become too predictable and lacked the excitement and energy of its earlier years.
Despite these challenges, BET continued to make changes and improvements to the show in an effort to win back viewers and regain its place as one of the top award shows on television.
The BET Awards experienced a ratings rebound and increased social media engagement from 2011 to 2015. In 2011, the show garnered a record-breaking 7.7 million viewers, up from the previous year’s 7.4 million. The following year, the show’s ratings dipped slightly but still drew in an impressive 7.4 million viewers. In 2013, the BET Awards saw its highest social media engagement ever with over 11 million tweets during the broadcast, leading to increased visibility and buzz around the event.
This trend continued through to 2015 where over nine million viewers tuned in and social media engagement reached new heights with over two billion impressions across various platforms.
The BET Awards have seen a fluctuation in ratings in recent years. The 2018 show garnered its lowest ratings since 2001, with only 2.4 million viewers tuning in. However, the following year saw an increase to 3.7 million viewers, which was attributed to the tribute to Nipsey Hussle and a performance by Mary J. Blige. Despite this increase, the format of the BET Awards has faced criticism for being too predictable and lacking diversity in nominations.
In response, the network has made efforts to include more international artists and expand categories to recognize a wider range of talent within the industry. This year’s BET Awards will take place on June 25 2023 and will celebrate 50 Years of hip hop.