Initial ratings are in for Sunday night’s 68th annual Emmy Awards, and they’re as bleak as most of the winners’ jokes about Donald Trump during the broadcast.
According to Deadline, the three-hour telecast on ABC drew a 3.6 in the key 18-49 demo and 11.9 million total viewers, setting a new viewership low for television’s biggest night. So-called “fast affiliates” figures, the first ratings reported for the show, had pegged the numbers at 2.5/8 in the demo and 9.69 million viewers, down roughly 7% from last year’s broadcast.
The Jimmy Kimmel-hosted affair was bested by both a tight battle between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers on NBC’s Sunday Night Football (7.4/23) and the first part of CBS’ four-part series The Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey, which pulled down 10.29 million viewers and a 2.1/7 in the key demo.
The disappointing Emmy numbers continue the downward slide of last year’s show on Fox, when Andy Samberg presided, and this year’s show will likely end up becoming the smallest Emmy audience in history, “beating” 1990’s broadcast for the record. The biggest Emmy audience in history came in 1986, when NBC roped in 36 million viewers.
The numbers are likely doubly disappointing for ABC, as the show received rave reviews from television critics, who praised both Kimmel’s performance as host and the diversity and unpredictability of the winners.
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) both won their first Emmys for leads in drama series, while fan favorites Game of Thrones and Veep won Outstanding Series in Drama and Comedy, respectively. The night also saw a few big upsets in the supporting actors drama category, as Ben Mendelsohn won for Bloodline and Maggie Smith won for the final season of Downton Abbey.
Perhaps it was all the politics that kept the viewers away this year.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum