BET Awards Audience Climbs to 2.8 Million Viewers

Busta Rhymes (C) accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award from (from L) DJ Scratchator, Spliff Star, Swizz Beatz, and Marlon Wayans onstage during the BET Awards 2023 at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Thanks to a hip-hop 50th anniversary celebration and star-studded tributes to Tina Turner and Takeoff, the audience for the 2023 BET Awards rose to 2.8 million viewers.

That’s a 2 percent increase from last year’s audience, according to Nielsen figures.

A total of 1.8 million viewers watched the awards on BET alone, with another one million viewing the simulcast across other Paramount-owned networks, including BET Her, Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, Pop, Nick at Nite, TV Land, and VH1.

Culture’s biggest night was also the most-watched cable awards show of 2023 in the advertiser coveted adults 18 to 49 demo.

Related StoryBET Awards 2023: Sugarhill Gang Kicks Off Hip-Hop 50th Anniversary Tribute (Video)

(L-R) DJ T. Dynasty, Master Gee, and Hen Dogg of The Sugarhill Gang perform onstage during the BET Awards 2023 at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)
The Sugarhill Gang kicked off the hip-hop 50 tribute. (Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

The awards — which honored Black excellence in music, film, sports, TV, and community achievement — aired live on Sunday, June 25, from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

The four-hour telecast was the #1 cable awards show of 2023 among Black viewers. The NAACP Image Awards, which also air on BET, hold the #2 spot.

“We couldn’t have done it without our amazing production team and the talented group of artists who came together to give Hip Hop its flowers, and all the lovers of the culture who watched live that tuned in across every platform to make this year’s BET Awards 2023 another great success,” Connie Orlando BET’s executive vice president of specials, music programming and music strategy, said in a statement Wednesday.

BET’s hip-hop 50 tribute saw the Sugarhill Gang, Trick Daddy, Trina, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Warren G, Ying Yang Twins, Yo-Yo, and E-40 all take the stage. Viewers were also treated to performances by Master P, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, T.I., Kid ‘n Play, Fabolous, and Lil Uzi Vert.

Patti LaBelle delivered a tribute to Tina Turner. While former Migos members Quavo and Offset reunited to perform a tribute to their late bandmate Takeoff.

In one of the most emotional moments of the awards, Busta Rhymes wiped away tears as he received BET’s lifetime achievement award.

“It was beautiful to watch so many of the artists who have shaped Hip Hop and have been a part of BET’s history return to BET to celebrate Hip Hop on Culture’s Biggest Night,” said Scott Mills, President and CEO of BET.

An encore presentation of the BET Awards airs Thursday, June 29 at 10 PM ET/PT on BET.