Billy Joel’s Madison Square Garden Special Reaches 5.7 Million Viewers on CBS

UPDATE: “Billy Joel: The 100th — Live at Madison Square Garden” has now reached 9.7 million viewers, accounting for a week of delayed viewing of the original CBS airing, streams on Paramount+ and same-day viewing of the April 19 encore on CBS.

PREVIOUSLY: “Billy Joel: The 100th — Live at Madison Square Garden” reached 5.7 million viewers on Sunday night.

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Calculated from Nielsen’s measurement of linear viewers on CBS and live streaming via Paramount+, this makes the Joel concert the fourth-most-watched special of 2024, ranking only behind the Oscars (19.5 million viewers on ABC), the Grammys (16.9 million viewers on CBS) and the Golden Globes (9.4 million viewers on CBS). It outpaced shows like the Emmys, which Fox aired to 4.3 million viewers in January.

This tally also puts “The 100th” above several musical holiday specials that aired at the end of 2023, which are a consistent ratings-bringer for broadcast networks. 5.7 million viewers tuned in via CBS alone — excluding streaming data — which still trumps November and December programs like NBC’S “Christmas at Graceland” (4.6 million viewers) AND “Barry Manilow Christmas” (2.8 million viewers) and ABC’s “CMA Country Christmas” (4.5 million viewers) and “Jingle Ball 2023” (2.2 million viewers on ABC).

High engagement was already clear before numbers came in for “The 100th,” evidenced by the fan outrage that sparked across social media after the telecast was accidentally cut off two minutes early in the Eastern and Central time zones, interrupting Joel as he sang “Piano Man.”

“We apologize to Mr. Joel, his fans, our affiliated stations and our audience whose viewing experience was interrupted during the last song,” CBS said in a statement the next morning, also promising a second broadcast “due to the overwhelming demand from his legion of fans.”

The encore will air on April 19 at 9 p.m. The special is also streaming on Paramount+.

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