Up against one of the strongest prime-time NFL football games in years, the Emmy Awards eked out a small gain in viewers from last year's historic lows.
The "61st Emmy Awards" on CBS managed a modest 11% rise to a Nielsen preliminary 4.2 rating/11 share among 18-49 viewers and an 8% gain to 13.3 million total average viewers.
Big winners on the Emmys were mostly a rerun of a year ago: best drama, AMC's "Mad Men"; best comedy, NBC's "30 Rock"; best drama actress, Glenn Close for FX's "Damages"; best drama actor, Bryan Cranston of AMC's "Breaking Bad"; best variety, music or comedy series, Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."
While the news was good for the TV awards ceremony, it was still the third-lowest average for viewers ever.
The show was up against perhaps the two of the strongest brand names in the NFL: the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. In addition, viewers were moved to watch, as the game was a close one right until the end.
NBC surged to its best ratings ever for "Sunday Night Football" and the strongest NFL prime-time game in a decade: an 8.7 rating/22 share among 18-49 viewers and 22.4 million overall average viewers.
For the night, NBC posted the best results overall -- a 7.1/19 among 18-49 viewers. CBS was next with a 4.5/12 -- which in addition to its Emmy ratings, gained from its own NFL coverage, spilling over into prime time from its late afternoon games.
Fox was next at a 2.1/6 -- somewhat competitive with its Sunday comedies in repeats: "Family Guy" posted a 2.6/6 and "The Simpsons" a 2.5/6.
ABC took the night off of sorts, running movie "King Kong." For the night, it took in a 1.1/3. Univision scored a 0.7/2 and the CW finished with a 0.4/1.