Now the risk appears to have paid off, as the 2008 VMAs delivered significant improvements over last year’s show in the 12-34 demo MTV targets.
According to Cable Fast National data, the 2008 installment of the VMAs delivered a 7.4 18-34 rating for the network, a 15% increase over 2007 and 41% increase over 2006.
The show was the highest-rated telecast on all of cable in the 12-34 demo this year.
When the simulcast on MTV2 is taken into account, the VMAs delivered an 8.1 grossed rating in the demo across the two networks.
All told and across the two networks during its time period, the 2008 VMAs reached more than 23 million viewers two-plus, with more than 12 million 12-34.
The VMA preshow also delivered an improvement over 2007, averaging a 4.1 12-34 rating, up 32% over last year.
Also seeing a boost from the VMAs was MTV.com. VMA-related pages on the site delivered more than 10 million page views, a 110% increase over last year.
The 2008 installment of the 24-year-old awards show was hosted by Brand, who is very popular in his home country but a relative unknown for U.S. audiences, save for a few movie appearances in supporting roles.
Traditionally, the show has been hosted by a famous comedian or singer. Previous hosts have included Chris Rock, Jack Black, Ben Stiller and upcoming host of NBC's Late Night Jimmy Fallon.