“Aretha! A Tribute” scored 5.3 million viewers on CBS last night, winning its time period. The Grammy show beat everything on NBC, the CW, and Fox for the evening.
The Aretha special was fourth for the evening to “60 Minutes,” “God Friended Me,” “American Idol,” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
Nevertheless, the special was quite an achievement on any levels. Neither CBS nor any of the broadcast networks ever show anything like the Aretha special, particularly in prime time. They will show the Country Music Awards and all kinds of other country music programs as well as as specials with pop artists.
But you will never real gospel, R&B at all. That’s usually confined to BET or some other adjunct place. The fact that was this was sold as a Grammy-related special is amazing. A Motown special comes next month. But the “Aretha” tribute should win some Emmy Awards, it was so good. And that’s the work of Clive Davis, Doug Davis, and Ken Ehrlich, who managed to get all those stars to come to the Shrine Auditorium and perform, once through. The whole music business basically came to a stop so it could happen. For that alone they should get Emmys.
Some outstanding performances: Brandi Carlile, SZA, HER, and Yolanda Adams with Shirley Caesar and Fantasia. I know Aretha was smiling down on this show.