2024 BET Awards Scored Highest Viewership With Audiences in 18-49 Demo in Five Years

The 2024 BET Awards on June 30 drew more than 3 million viewers, according to Nielsen figures. The show, which was simulcast live across 10 Paramount networks, was up 10% in impressions compared to last year. It stands as the No. 1 awards show on cable of the first half of 2024.

A total of 4.3 million viewers watched BET Awards content on premiere night, delivering a viewership increase of 10%. (That figure combines a live red-carpet show, the main telecast and an encore airing of the main telecast.)

The 2024 BET Awards scored its highest viewership with audiences in the prized 18-49 demographic in five years. It was the No. 1 show on all of TV for the day; the No. 1 cable awards show of the first half of 2024 among all audiences (18-49); and the No. 1 most social program across all of TV with 82% growth year-over-year and 10.5 million social interactions.

BET calls the show “the most-watched culture and entertainment event on all of TV by Black audiences 18-49.” That careful wording is meant to exclude sports programming.

BET also calls the show “the most-watched Black event in America” and “the largest Black gathering for culture, entertainment, and empowerment in the country.”

The 2024 BET Awards included at least two notable firsts.

This year, the BET Awards put Black country artists at center stage for the first time. Tanner Adell performed her songs “Buckle Bunny” and “Cowboy” on the BET Amplified stage. The red-hot Shaboozey performed “A Bar Song (Tipsy),” joined by J-Kwon, whose 2004 smash “Tipsy” is interpolated in Shaboozey’s smash. “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” jumps to No. 1 on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 and holds at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs for the fourth nonconsecutive week.

In a statement, BET said “this groundbreaking inclusion of country music highlighted Black music’s rich history, diversity, and landscape” and that the show “celebrated the fullness of Black music.”

Also, Will Smith performed on the BET Awards stage for the first time, unveiling his new song “You Can Make It” alongside Kirk Franklin, Chandler Moore, and the Sunday Service Choir. Smith had co-hosted the show in 2005 with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, but had not previously performed on the show. This was Smith’s first awards-show performance since he was barred from Academy Awards events for 10 years in 2022 following a headline-grabbing and image-damaging incident involving Chris Rock. This is a reminder that for many Black performers seeking to mount a comeback, the surest route is through Black audiences, who will often tend to be more sympathetic.

The importance of showing up to the polls in this chaotic election year was stressed throughout the show. The show included a segment in which third-time host Taraji P. Henson conversed with Vice President Kamala Harris about the importance of voting. In his acceptance speech for album of the year, Killer Mike stressed not only the importance of voting but also getting politically involved locally year-round.

Connie Orlando, EVP of specials, music programming & music strategy, served as the executive producer for the annual show, with Jamal Noisette, SVP of tentpoles & music community engagement, for BET. Jesse Collins Entertainment is the production company for the show, with Jesse Collins, Dionne Harmon, and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay also serving as executive producers.