LOS ANGELES While most viewers—according to the ratings—were watching the Eagles and Bears on Sunday Night Football on NBC, the American Music Awards took to L.A. Live, and the ABC broadcast of the program drew considerable ratings attention of its own. Thanks in part to a surprise guy-on-guy kiss during Adam Lambert's dance routine (not to mention Jennifer Lopez taking an unplanned tumble during hers), the telecast attracted significant buzz, garnering more than 14 million viewers, the largest overall audience for the show since 2002 and its highest rating since 2004, making it the third-highest-rated awards show of the year, behind the Oscars and Grammys, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Dick Clark Productions, overseen on the project by communications vice president Lynda Dorf and corporate alliances vice president Rachel Wagner, produced the show, tapping 15/40 Productions for the arrivals and after-party production management and design.
Kicking off the program was an arrivals scene on the Nokia Plaza. The setup was redesigned for 2009, taking a semicircle format for a new look that maximized the press wall area. “The AMA arrivals is all about the wow factor of the talent on the carpet,” said 15/40's Travis Jackson. “This year we designed it to be able to bring the fan pens into the heart of the red carpet action, the great fan energy adding to the carpet energy.”
The after-party, sponsored by Coca-Cola, took on a more intimate form this year, down to about 900 from last year's 1,500. It was held at the Conga Room, where the Comic Book Heroes performed songs off their album Take a Seat and DJ Devin Lucien spun for the crowd. Diageo and Coca-Cola poured their beverages at the bars, and Johnny Rockets' milk shakes complimented Wolfgang Puck's catering. Jackson called the look of the party “stylishly edgy.”
The night before, an official preparty for about 500 took to the Target Terrace atop the Grammy Museum. DJ Morse Code spun, and Captain Morgan provided the spirits at the Simon G Jewelry-sponsored party, where an auction benefiting the American Red Cross had rare signed items from previous A.M.A.s, as well as other music- and sports-related memorabilia from Grandstand Sports.