RATINGS RAT RACE UPDATE: With Football Filling In For Red-Carpet Arrivals, Emmy Awards Scores Biggest Audience In Eight Years – Nearly 18 Million

3RD UPDATE; 11:59 AM: CBS pulled off a great football-to-Emmy viewer conversion Sunday night. Just over 19 million people were watching national football play on the network between 7:30 and 8 PM last night, after which the network immediately went to the Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast, which started about 3 minutes late and averaged nearly 18 mil. It’s been years since the Emmycast got kissed by a football game like this. Last year, when the Emmy Awards aired on ABC and clocked 13 million viewers, its lead-in was a red-carpet arrivals show that averaged a pathetic 5.6 million viewers. The year before that, on Fox, the trophy show averaged 12.4 million, after a red-carpet arrivals show that averaged an only slightly less pathetic 6.1 million viewers. Hopefully this drives stake through red carpet shows. Can we all agree that the way to fix the Emmy Awards ratings woes is not to single out token deceased industry VIPs who represent various demographic groups and who mentored stars who have new series about to debut on broadcast networks, but to dump red-carpet arrival shows in favor of football?

In ’10, the Emmycast, on NBC, got moved to Monday night to get out of the way of that network’s football commitments. In ’09, when the Emmys last aired on CBS, the network had a national football game that night, and it averaged more than 18 million viewers. Sadly, the game ended at 7:33 PM, after which a quick post-game yak-fest slipped to 15.5 million, then and a truncated 60 Minutes brought the number down to 13.1 million. That year’s Emmy ceremony averaged 13.5 million viewers.

2ND UPDATE, 10:55 AM: Nearly 18 million viewers watched last night’s 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards — the trophy show’s biggest audience since 2005 and about 4.4 million viewers better than last year. The CBS franchise also jumped 26% in the demo (4.9 rating) compared to last year to nail Emmys’ best demo ratings since 2006. The Emmycast also delivered a 5.8 in adults 25-54 — up 21% — and 4.5 in adults 18-34 — up 50%, which may put to rest complaints about Cory Monteith having been included in the list of recently deceased industry notables who received very special tributes.

The Emmycast clocked its biggest overall audience since September 18, 2005, when it also aired on CBS and that was back in the days when it did not compete with Sunday Night Football on NBC, CBS noted this morning.

CBS Research estimates approximately 40 million viewers watched all or part of the trophy show. In broadcast, that reach stat includes anyone who watched at least six minutes. So much for all that chatter about how the Emmycast was going to get nicked in the ratings by the penultimate episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad, Showtime’s Dexter finale and, of course, NBC’s Sunday football.

Related: AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’ Breaks More Ratings Records

Related: Showtime’s ‘Dexter’ Series Finale & ‘Ray Donovan’ Season Ender Hit Highs

UPDATE, 9:15 AM: Fast national numbers — not time-zone adjusted — give last night’s Primetime Emmy Awards telecast an average crowd of 15.3 million viewers. But that number includes a football overrun and does not include the Emmy overrun — and the Emmys were trending down at a healthy clip toward the end. The ceremony ran 15 minutes long. Those fast nationals have the Emmycast clocking a 4.3 rating in the demo. That would mean a 30% spike, compared to last year’s final trophy show numbers. NBC’s Sunday Night Football outscored the Emmy ceremony, with nearly 19 million viewers and a 6.9 rating in the demo, according to fast nationals.

PREVIOUS, 8:08 PM: Last night’s Primetime Emmy Awards posted the highest local ratings in seven years, according to very early Nielsen stats. In the preliminary metered markets, from 8-11:15 PM, CBS’ broadcast of the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards clocked a household 12.1/19, which is up by double-digit percentages compared to a year ago (9.6/15). BIG QUALIFIER: Due to late-running football on CBS and with the trophy show airing live across the country, these numbers are not so reliable as will be more telling numbers that are time-zone adjusted. They will be delayed until later today. Those fast-national ratings issued at 11 AM by Nielsen are not time adjusted.

  1. Not paying tribute to Jack Klugman, a GREAT ACTOR (and instead, a tribute to a little known young actor) was wrong… everyone should be embarrassed.

  2. Truly sad about Corys death but so many outstanding deceased actors were could have been equally highlighted instead of limelighted in this segment.. Equal time for all is the answer. No one’s favorite will b slighted then.

    1. Steve Levitan, upon accepting the award for Modern Family, put it best: “This was the saddest awards show, but I’m happy” (or words to that effect).

      They then cut to a non-plussed and somewhat angry-looking NPH at his podium wishing everyone a good night with a very stoic expression.

      Michael Douglas and Julia Louis-Dreyfus being funny during her speech w/Tony Hale are the only other memorable things of the night.

  3. How lucky can these guys get? a piece of crap show and they get saved by the ratings. So next year lets have an even more badly produced show it doesn’t matter anymore.

  4. no, no, no…is THIS the lesson you derived from this scheduling? you’re taking your queue in completely the wrong direction!!!…DUMP the red carpet arrivals AND DUMP the awards show ENTIRELY…broadcast the award winners in Variety or Hollywood Reporter in print & online the next day to a reading aud that actually gives a damn!!…instead, how about telecasting 2 back to back nfl games? SWEET TREAT!! GINORMOUS AUD!!

  5. I understand why some questioned the piece on Cory Monteith, but I think it was a very good decision because of how he died. It was important in my opinion that especially for all the young people who have been inspired and encouraged by his show as well as the sensitive subjects blended into Glee with courage and bravery. The thoughts Jane Lynch expressed directly addressed the questions some of the young people who loved him and the show grappled with in the aftermath of the shocking news. We can’t know the why ultimately, a sad fact about many suicides, but we can still honor him and help people see that he still deserves their love for him. All that he was is not summed up by his death, but how he touched others, friends and fans. His life was meaningful to so many…all of us can be grateful for that gift and try to follow the example.


  7. So I have to intercede on behalf of the quadrillions of Gleeks everywhere. I actually cut my teeth on Quincy MD and wanted to be him when I grew up but, Glee drives social media and obviously the producers of the Emmy’s knew this and used it to their advantage. The target audiences are getting younger; Quincy vs Glee, Vampire Diaries etc and it reaches a broader audience; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix… The youth of the world have spoken!!

  8. “…which may put to rest complaints about Cory Monteith…” Yeah, I’m sure that millions of 15 years old teenagers tuned to Emmy only to see his 15 seconds tribute… And have in mind that people who didn’t watch Glee have no idea who Corey Montheith was and don’t care bout him.

    I suspect that after all that crazy hype around Breaking Bad lately people wanted them to win and watched Emmys since BB was nominated heavily. Also no one knew that it will be so boringly bad. They just tuned in and had to watch it till the end since they already started.

  9. really? – the award show SUSTAINED that many viewers throughout the evening??? – how strange because all i heard was how many people turned it off. and said it was dull dull dull. missing and i think mentioned by Nikki last night – instead of personal memories of those who passed away, how much better would it have been to have clips to remind us how wonderful they were.

  10. Why is there a category for best Choreographer when there were only two shows nominated? SYTCD and Dancing with the Stars had five noms and four of them were from the same show! Complete waste!

  11. It is a little complicated that we celebrate a fantastic show about a guy who cooks meth and then we grieve about a wonderful actor who died of a drug overdose….I think in the end the message is….. drugs suck.

  12. It was a good show. And damn, those are good ratings. I always look forward to these awards shows here in flyover country. Duck Dynasty sucks.

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