The BET Awards, traditionally one of BET’s most-watched events, drew a huge audience to the network Sunday night, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The cable telecast averaged 7.7 million viewers.
The awards were dominated by R&B artist Chris Brown, who has been rehabilitating his career after making headlines for abusing his former girlfriend Rihanna. But one moment that may have captured more attention than any other involved a flubbed presentation in which an award that was supposed to go to Brown, the Viewers’ Choice Award, was mistakenly handed out to the wrong artist, Drake–for a collaboration with Rihanna.
MTV.com reported that BET President of Music Programming and Specials Stephen Hill took the blame for the mistake.
Hill tweeted: "That BET Awards Viewer’s Choice mix-up was due to human error. And I was the human that made that error. I apologize to ALL affected."
The MTV report describes the incident this way: “When ‘106 & Park’ hosts Terrance and Rocsi brought contest winner Tiffany Green onstage to announce the Viewers’ Choice Award, Green, like all the other presenters of the night, read the winner from a tablet PC, instead of doing the traditional envelope-opening. At first, she called out Chris Brown as the victor, but then she backtracked and gave the trophy to Drake for his collaboration with Rihanna, ‘What’s My Name?’
"’Well, this is awkward,’ said Drake to start his acceptance speech, after his and Rihanna’s names appeared on the video screen. But then it turned out that the intended recipient was Chris Brown after all, and as the show neared its end, BET cleared up the confusion and brought Breezy out to accept the award.”
As far as ratings, the telecast was up from last year’s average of 7.4 million viewers, but still well below 2009, when the show aired soon after the death of Michael Jackson and attracted 10.7 million viewers.