Sunday’s broadcast of the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards on ABC hit a record low for the ceremony, based on Nielsen ratings data.
Media Life Magazine reports that the show delivered an average of 11.3 million total viewers, off 5% from the 11.9 million who tuned in last year, when the program aired on Fox — which was a record low at the time.
“Fox had the advantage of airing the Emmys behind an NFL doubleheader last year, which gave the program a hefty lead-in,” Media Life notes. “But the ABC broadcast started cold, with no NFL lead-in. Instead, its red carpet special at 7 was competing against NFL overrun on CBS and NBC’s ‘Football Night in America,’ a roundup of the day’s NFL action.”
Sunday’s program averaged a 2.8 rating in the key 18-49 demo.
CBS also put up a strong program opposite the Emmys, airing its JonBenet Ramsey special, which pulled a 2.1 average in 18-49 with 10 million total viewers.
The rise of niche programs airing on pay cable and other less widely viewed platforms as Emmys contenders could be a factor.
“’Veep,’ that HBO show that won best comedy, averaged fewer than 1 million viewers last season,” Media Life notes. “By comparison, CBS’s ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ which wasn’t even nominated in the category, averaged 15 times that.”