UPDATE, 10:43 AM: The Handmaid’s Tale, Veep, Big Little Lies, This Is Us’ Sterling K Brown, Atlanta’s Donald Glover and The Night Of’s Riz Ahmed were bathed in Emmy glory last night but the final numbers find the show itself matching its worst audience numbers ever. In the key demo, the Stephen Colbert hosted ceremony had it worst result ever.
With 11.38 million viewers tuning into the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards is even with last year’s show on ABC, which was the all-time low. The 2016 show was down 5% from the 2015 show, which was the previous low. Among adults 18-49, last night’s Emmys snagged a 2.5 rating. That’s down 10% from the Jimmy Kimmel hosted show of last year, the previous demo low.
Full of repeated swipes at Donald Trump from Colbert and almost everyone else on-stage last night, the 2017 Emmys also faced the well-followed Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers over on Sunday Night Football. Kicked off with a dubious Sean Spicer cameo, the awards show also was up against around 30 minutes of the Denver Broncos’ ratings strong pounding of the Dallas Cowboy that spilled over in to FOX’s primetime. While unlikely to have had a big impact on the Emmys numbers, Sunday was the debut of Ken Burns’ new The Vietnam War documentary series on PBS too.
Clearly in deep with the NFL on Sundays, NBC dealt with its own particular Emmy issue when it broadcast the show in 2014 by moving the whole thing to a Monday and side stepping the NFL. Down from the 2013 show, the 2014 Emmys was the last time the broadcast did better than 12 million viewers, with a total audience of 15.59 million tuning in.
The last time the House of Moonves had the Emmys back in 2013, the Neil Patrick Harris hosted hoopla delivered 17.63 million viewers and a rating of 4.9 among adults 18-49.
The biggest spectacle of the night was the Sunday Night Football match-up between 34-23 winning Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. The second week of the 2017-2018 season saw SNF pull in 20.2 million viewers. The NFL and NBC won the night against the Emmys but they were down 11% in total audience from when SNF faced the Emmys in 2016.
PREVIOUSLY, 6:55 AM: Near the beginning of the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards last night, host Stephen Colbert hauled former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer onstage to declare that the CBS-broadcast show would have “the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period — both in person and around the world.”
Coming off the all-time ratings low of last year’s Jimmy Kimmel-fronted ceremony, the gag and the Donald Trump inauguration-inspired boasts were a hopeful and it seems hollow plea for Colbert’s awards show hosting and debut.
Sunday’s Emmys took repeated aim at Trump, the former Celebrity Apprentice host and past nominee, and combined with facing a Green Bay Packers game on NBC’s Sunday Night Football again, the POTUS-bashing Emmys were knocked down to a new low – at least in the early numbers. Snagging a 8.2 in metered market ratings, last night’s three-hour-plus show fronted by Colbert tripped 2% from the 2016 show.
To give some necessary context, that result is from 50 of 56 markets reporting due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma hitting Florida last week.
Despite a historic win for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Atlanta’s Donald Glover, plus big victories for the Margaret Atwood adaptation’s lead Elisabeth Moss, This Is Us’ Sterling K. Brown, HBO’s Big Little Lies and Veep, last night’s result marks the third straight decline for TV’s big night, following the Andy Samberg-hosted 2015 Emmys on Fox and last year’s show on ABC.
For the NFL and NBC, Atlanta’s 34-23 victory over the Packers scored a 12.6/21 in metered market numbers for Week 2 of the 2017-2018 season. Again, with the same 50 of 56 markets reporting caveat, that’s an 8% dip from the comparable September 18, 2016 match-up between Green Bay and Minnesota — a 17-14 Vikings victory. Still, the 8:30-11:30 PM ET SNF game last night looks to have clinched a primetime win for NBC.
Compared to last week’s official SNF blowout opener, where the Dallas Cowboys destroyed the New York Giants 19-3, last night’s NFL game was down 20% in MM numbers, which excluded those Florida markets. That Cowboys-Giants battle, if you can call it that, eventually had a viewership of 24.2 million and a 9.1/30 rating in the key demo in its final numbers.
Last year’s ABC broadcast of the Emmys went on to draw 11.38 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49 in the final numbers, both lows. Down 18% from the MM numbers of the September 20, 2015 SNF match-up where the Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks 27-17, the 2016 Vikings-Packers game pulled in an audience of 22.8 million, which was down from the year before.
Despite all the baiting by Colbert, Alec Baldwin and others last night, Trump didn’t tweet a peep about the Emmys – though he did celebrate the 70th birthday of the U.S. Air Force and the CIA this morning:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2017
We’ll update with more Emmy and SNF numbers as they come in, plus look at how Week 2 of Fox’s The Orville — which started a bit later last night due to the lightning-delayed Cowboys-Broncos matchup — and others fared.
In the meantime, here are the top local markets for last night’s SNF, which peaked from 9:30-10 PM ET with a 14.5/25:
- Milwaukee – 41.6/59
- Atlanta – 25.0/42
- Minneapolis – 18.4/31
- Norfolk – 17.3/27
- New Orleans – 16.9/24
- Kansas City – 16.5/27
- Richmond – 16.4/26
- Las Vegas – 15.7/26
- Seattle – 15.4/25
- Memphis – 14.8/21
UPDATE, 9:15 AM: We’re starting to get a bit clearer picture of how Stephen Colbert’s Emmy Awards hosting debut went last night and it’s still on track to be an all-time low for TV’s big night.
With non-adjusted fast affiliates in, the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards snagged a 2.1/8 among adults 18-49 and 9.58 million viewers. Or put it another way, between 8 – 11 PM, the CBS broadcast show was down 19% in the key demo and 1% in total sets of eyeballs from the early numbers of last years’ Emmys on ABC, the previous low.
The September 17, 2016 Jimmy Kimmel hosted TV Academy gathering went up to 11.38 million and an 18-49 rating of 2.8 in the final and adjusted numbers. Certainly, if past Emmys are any indication we’ll see a similar adjustment today when final numbers arrive, but it will be hard for the 2017 ceremony to push past that ratings low at this point.
Of course, the Emmys weren’t the only thing on TV last night and they were not the top dog. That distinction goes to NBC and the NFL’s Sunday Night Football (6.4/22), which saw the Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers 34-23. Also non-adjusted, last night’s Week 2 game of the 2017-2018 season is coming in down 14% in the demo from the Packers 17-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on the comparable Sunday last year.
Last night’s gridiron match-up pulled in 18.46 million viewers in the fast affiliates. That’s a hard hit of 14% from the audience that tuned in to last week’s SNF official season opener, which had an 8.0 in the ratings.
Last year’s SNF 2016-2017 official opener ended up with 22.8 million viewers and last week’s Dallas Cowboys win over the New York Giants scored 24.2 million in the final numbers.
NBC was the winner overall last night with a 4.9/17 rating and 14.25 million viewers to third place CBS’ 1.9/7 and 9.41 million.
The second spot on Sunday was claimed by FOX that saw a delayed Cowboys and Denver Broncos game spill over 90 minutes (6.5/24) into primetime and push Week 2 of The Orville (2.6/9) to an 8:30 PM start. Currently in those non-adjusted numbers, the Seth MacFarlane created and starring sci-fi drama is down a tenth from its final numbers of September 10 and up 13% from last week’s fast affiliates. As things are right now, FOX scored a 3.8/14 and 11.23 million viewers with that NFL over run.
Unsurprisingly, ABC’s originals of Steve Harvey’s Funderdome (0.6/2) and The $100,000 Pyramid (0.5/2) fell to season lows on the very competitive night.