CBS’s broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors on Wednesday saw its ratings plummet, drawing an average audience of 4.1 million viewers, which is a new low for this show. This excludes last year’s delayed special.
Bette Midler was honored this year after she insulted West Virginians by calling them “poor, illiterate, and strung out.” President Joe Biden gave her a glowing tribute during a preshow reception. “I am such an unadulterated fan. The president exclaimed that Bette was a treasure American treasure.
The Kennedy Center Honors have 4.1 million viewers, an improvement on last year’s ceremony that was delayed by the pandemic. According to TV Line, it was far short of its previous pre-pandemic peak of 7 million viewers.
Lorne Michaels was also honored at this year’s ceremony. He is the long-time producer of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. This has been a key voice for the political left. The ceremony made some digs at Donald Trump, the former president who refused to attend the honors during his term.
“Tonight it is quite lovely, very nice to see the presidential mailbox once again being occupied,” comic David Letterman said, prompting a standing ovation from Biden. “The Oval Office is the same.”
The ceremony was attended by the Bidens as well as Vice President Kamala Harris (D-CA) and her husband Doug Emhoff. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, was also present.