The Future of the American Music Awards is Suddenly in Limbo As 2023 Event Potentially Gets Nixed

American Music Awards

Photo Credit: Globovisión / CC by 2.0

The future of the American Music Awards is suddenly in limbo, with the network of the event currently to be determined.

The American Music Awards (AMAs) will likely air in May 2024 rather than in 2023, following news that the Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) would take place on November 19, 2023 — a Sunday typically held for the AMAs. As a result, the AMAs’ parent company Dick Clark Productions seems left with no choice but to move the event to 2024, where it can take the May slot customarily held by Billboard.

The AMAs, an ABC network staple since the event’s debut in 1973, was created by Dick Clark to replace the Grammy Awards when ABC’s contract to air them expired. But sources familiar with the situation say that the AMAs are currently without a network as their contract with ABC ended in November, and no decision has yet been made about a renewal.

Dick Clark Productions is owned by Penske Media Corp. (PMC), the parent company to industry mainstays like Variety and Billboard. Multiple sources report that PMC opted to throw its weight behind the Billboard Music Awards over the AMAs, reasoning that it made sense to promote its own brand. 

However, ABC is said to have been unaware of plans to change the BBMAs’ date until it was announced publicly on March 15. Meanwhile, sources also confirm that NBC, BBMAs partner since 2018, did not pick it up this year. Instead, NBC has focused on its People’s Choice Awards, including the new People’s Choice Country Awards premiering in September.

The American Music Awards originally ran in either January or February from 1974 to 2003, at which point it began running in November — until this year. The Billboard Music Awards first launched on Fox in 1990, where it remained through 2006, airing in early December. In 2011, it switched to ABC and moved to a May slot, presumably to avoid conflict with the AMAs. There it remained until 2018, when it switched to NBC.

Ratings for awards shows have been on a steady decline in recent years. The AMAs reached a low in 2022 with a 0.6 rating among adults in the prime 18-49 demographic and just 3.53 million viewers. By comparison, the show garnered a 1.0 rating and 4 million viewers in 2020 and 2021. The BBMAs have retained their ratings slightly better over the past few years, earning a 0.7 rating in 2021 and 2022 and drawing an average viewership of 2.8 million in 2021 and 2.6 million in 2022.