MTV Video Music Awards ratings take a dive vs. last year

one-direction-vma-award.jpgThe 2011 Video Music Awards set an all-time ratings record for MTV, so it was reasonable to expect this year's show might fall some in the ratings. But not this much.

Thursday's (Sept. 6) VMA telecast drew less than half the audience that tuned in for the 2011 awards. The show averaged 6.1 million viewers, down from 12.45 million last year. It was the smallest audience for the VMAs since 2006 -- which, incidentally, was the last time the show aired on a Thursday night.

The VMAs also started an hour earlier than they usually do and ended in a somewhat rushed fashion at 10 p.m. ET so as not to conflict with coverage of the Democratic National Convention on other networks. All those factors would lead one to expect a ratings dip, but not one of this magnitude. Fun fact: Last year's VMA red-carpet show outdrew this year's main event by more than a million viewers.

On the bright side, the VMA telecast was still the most-watched show on cable Thursday, topping CNN's coverage of President Obama's speech at the Democratic convention.

Boy band One Direction was the big winner at the awards, taking home Moon Man trophies for best new artist, best pop video and most share-worthy video.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images