LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Viewership for Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony on CBS dropped nearly 30 percent from last year, but was still the second-largest audience since 1994, according to figures released today by Nielsen.

Despite the 28.9 percent decline, the 28.37 million viewers who tuned in for the Staples Center ceremony was the largest audience for an entertainment program this prime-time television season, topping the previous high of 22.86 million for the Jan. 15 episode of the CBS drama “NCIS,” time zone-adjusted fast national ratings show.

The 2012 Grammy ceremony, which came one day after the death of singing star Whitney Houston, averaged 39.91 million viewers, the second largest audience in its history.

The Grammy record is 51.67 million viewers for the 1984 ceremony, when Michael Jackson, at the height of his popularity, won a record eight Grammys.

That telecast came when there were just three major broadcast networks and less competition for viewers from cable television, home video and video games.

Final national figures are scheduled to be released Tuesday, but are not expected to change substantially from the preliminary figures.

The Grammy Awards set a social television record for an awards show with more than 18.7 million social media comments, topping the record previously held by the 2012 Grammys by 44 percent, according to the analytics firm Bluefin Labs.

The number of social media comments was the second most for a U.S. television program, trailing only Super Bowl XLVII the previous Sunday.