Emmys Sink to Record-Low Ratings

Monday's Emmy Awards on NBC settled for a 1.09 rating among adults 18-49 and 5.9 million total viewers.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 12: 74th ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS -- Pictured: Jesse Armstrong and cast and crew accept the Outstanding Drama Series award for "Succession" along with the cast and crew on stage during the 74th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2022. -- (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC via Getty Images)
Jesse Armstrong and cast and crew accept the Outstanding Drama Series award for "Succession."
NBC via Getty Images

And the winner is not NBC. Monday’s 2022 Emmys, hosted by “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson, drew a 1.09 rating (call it a 1.1) in the adults 18-49 demographic and 5.9 million total viewers on NBC, according to Nielsen averages. Those are new record lows for the annual best-of-TV special.

Peacock also live-streamed the 74th Emmy Awards, although we do not have data for that platform’s performance. It likely wouldn’t make much of a dent, anyway — and definitely not a historical difference.

On broadcast television alone, last night’s show nose-dove 42 percent from the previous year’s key-demo ratings. Its overall viewership declined 25 percent from 2021. Those 73rd Emmy Awards, which aired on Sunday, September 19, drew a 1.9 rating in the key demo and 7.9 million total viewers on CBS, according to Nielsen. The 2021 Emmys were also live-streamed on Paramount+, though the streaming service didn’t report viewership numbers. It’s fine that they didn’t because we’re apples-to-apples here.

Monday’s 74th Emmy Awards aired (and streamed) live from 8 p.m. ET to 11:03 p.m. ET. The special was scheduled for Monday as NBC/Peacock has television’s number-one show, “Sunday Night Football,” in primetime on Sundays.

The big winners last night included “Ted Lasso,” “Succession,” and “The White Lotus.” “Squid Game” star Lee Jung-jae won the trophy for lead actor in a drama series and Jason Sudeikis claimed best actor in a comedy. Jean Smart won for outstanding actress in a comedy series; Zendaya won for drama. Find all of Monday’s winners here.

A little more Emmys-ratings history: The 2020 show suffered the prior all-time low of a 1.3 rating and 6.4 million total viewers on ABC — although that was not so bad, considering the Covid pandemic was in full swing.

In 2019, the Emmy Awards hit what was record lows at the time with a 1.7 rating and 6.9 million viewers on Fox. That year, the last “normal” one before COVID-19 came stateside, Nielsen numbers were down significantly from the last time NBC hosted the Emmys: 2018’s (Monday) telecast received a 2.4 rating and 10.2 million viewers.

The highest-rated Emmys on record were in 1992 on Fox, when the show scored a 9.8 rating among adults 18-49. That one was hosted by Tim Allen, Kirstie Alley, and Dennis Miller; CBS series “Murphy Brown” and “Northern Exposure” were the big winners back then.

The most-watched Emmy Awards were in 2000 on ABC, when 21.8 million viewers tuned in. That show was hosted Gary Shandling; the top awards went to NBC’s “Will & Grace” and “The West Wing.”

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