Houston’s death, hours before the live Grammycast, turned that trophy show into a weep-fest for the pop star. Nearly 40 million people tuned inn to watch the music industry lay its heart at the feet of its fallen heroine — the Grammy’s biggest audience in nearly three decades.
CBS’ newly announced Houston special will include highlights from her career and never-before-seen footage and interviews, as well as artists sharing their memories of her.
CBS’ special may look like a throwback to the days when musical specials during sweeps were standard — who can forget CBS’ Jackson Five reunion special that aired during the November ’01 sweeps period and that copped nearly 30 million viewers? But it’s actually part of a trend in which networks — as they try to hang on to hot trophy shows — wind up agreeing also to buy a couple of Shoulder Shows from the academy that owns the trophy show.
ABC, for instance, is on the hook to air “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock" — and did so again earlier this month — as a sort of early reminder to viewers that the CMA Awards will take place during the November sweeps period. And that you can catch it on ABC. That network is also on the hook for a CMA Christmas special. It’s all part of ABC’s 10-year deal to air the Country Music Association’s CMA Awards, signed last year.
CBS, for its part, has aired a Grammy nomination announcement special since 2008 as part of its arrangement to hang on to the Grammy Awards.