Emmys Take Another Dive To Lowest Total Audience Ever

“The 75th Emmy Awards" Monday on Fox made history as the lowest-rated show in the history of the awards.

Total audience declined 27% from 2022 -- 4.3 million viewers this year compared to 5.92 million for the 74th Emmys, which aired on NBC on Monday, September 12, 2022.

This year’s decline in total audience is not surprising. It continues a decline into the “single-digit” millions that began in 2019 when total audience topped out at 6.9 million, down from 10.7 million a year earlier.

Since then, the tallies were 6.4 million in 2020, 7.83 million in 2021 (a modest uptick), then 5.92 million (2022) and this week’s 4.3 million.



The numbers came Tuesday in a press release from Fox noting that this data does not represent “final ratings,” which Fox said will be available on Wednesday. If this data was available, the TV Blog did not receive it.

The release also noted, rightly, that this was the first Emmy Awards show ever to air against an NFL playoff game.

The game, seen on ABC and the various co-owned ESPN channels, drew 28.6 million viewers, according to ESPN.

Not yet tallied: How many viewers in Philadelphia -- still the nation’s fourth-largest TV market -- bailed early as the Eagles got drubbed by the Buccaneers 32-9.

The audience for the game nevertheless supports Fox’s contention that the game helped depress the Emmy ratings.

But competition from football was not the only reason the Emmys hit the skids once again. Here are a few more:

The Emmys have been aired in either late August or September since 1977. But this year they were delayed until January due to last year’s writers’ and actors’ strikes

As a result, it is likely that comparatively few people had any idea the show was even on.

Thus, even those for whom the annual Emmy show is “must-see” TV every year (if there are such people), the Emmy Awards were not exactly top-of-mind even for them here in mid-January.

And here is a reason -- perhaps more a theory than a reason -- that the TV Blog has raised many times to explain why the Emmys don’t make a splash anymore.

The theory is: No scripted TV show -- and with the rarest of exceptions, no unscripted show either -- generates mass audiences today that translate into an elevated interest in who wins what at the Emmys.

In the now-distant past when network shows drew audiences in the tens of millions, watching TV was more of a shared experience than it is today.

Today, attractive TV shows of every type have flooded the marketplace with the result that none draw mass audiences anymore. 

Long ago, the shared experience probably contributed to the success of the Emmys, which once drew mass audiences on par with the shows it was honoring.

The Emmy Awards with the biggest audience appears to be the 38th on September 21, 1986, co-hosted by David Letterman and Shelley Long on NBC -- 35.79 million.

Come to think of it, audiences for the Emmys and for most TV shows today still run more or less parallel to each other. They’re just a lot lower than they used to be.

1 comment about "Emmys Take Another Dive To Lowest Total Audience Ever".
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  1. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, January 19, 2024 at 11:07 a.m.

    Oscars will be a big "tell." Golden Globes were up 50% by featuring films people actually went to see: BARBENHEIMER, mostly, but a couple others. Emmys featured mostly TV/streaming shows few people watch with actors/actresses nobody's heard of and I've already forgotten who the host was. Plus the old-paradigm calendar of June 1-May 31 for entry is crusty and illogical for a 365 day programming schedule. O well; another media institution that needs to die. Or is it DEI? 

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