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Emmy Viewership Falls To New Low Of 6.1 Million As ‘Schitt’s Creek’ & HBO Rule COVID-19-Dominated Ceremony – Update


UPDATE, 10:24 PM: Despite going virtual across the globe, the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards went off without a significant technical glitch last night. And after setting up over 100 cameras in nominees’ homes to cover 23 categories, the final numbers are in for the Jimmy Kimmel hosted show.

And they remain a record low for the small screen’s biggest night.

With 6.1 million viewers and a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49 in time adjusted results, the 8 – 11:06 PM ET show managed to prove host Kimmel right and beat last year’s previous low.

On a ceremony dominated by a Schitt’s Creek sweep, plus HBO’s Succession and Watchmen, the 2020 Emmys were down a hard 25% in the demo and 12% in total audience from Game of Thrones wining and host free 71st Primetime Emmy Awards.

Last year was the first time the Emmys ever went below 7 million viewers. Based on this year’s results, that many one day sadly seem like a Mt. Everest

PREVIOUSLY, 8:14 AM: Besides the obvious changes in format and technical reach due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jimmy Kimmel’s third time as host saw a lot of firsts at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday.

For one, there was a host again after the TV Academy’s show ceremony tried to be like the 2019 Oscars and go without a frontman or frontwoman last year. Then there was the unprecedented sweep by Canadian comedy Schitt’s Creek, including being the first import from the Great White North to win a top series category. Additionally, with big victories for HBO’s Watchmen, Sunday’s Emmys had record wins for African-American actors.

Speaking of HBO, the premium cabler’s upset in the Lead Actress in a Drama Series by Euphoria’s Zendaya made the Disney alum at 24 the youngest winner ever in the category.

Once again, the Emmys were facing off against Sunday Night Football, just like last year. However, with the Emmys also matched up again the NBA playoffs for the first time (Los Angeles Lakers-Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals) there was one particular similarity and difference this year: As predicted by Kimmel, the Emmys hit an all-time ratings low, dropping 14% in viewers and 33% among adults 18-49 from the previous all-time low of last year.

In early numbers, the more than three-hour ceremony snared an audience of 5.11 million and a 1.0 rating in the key demographic for ABC. These are fast affiliate numbers, which will be adjusted and updated in final data expected later today, but it is still going to be a steep and perhaps impossible climb to top 2019’s depths.

Broadcast on Fox, last year’s 71st Primetime Emmy Awards ended up with 6.9 million viewers and a 1.6 rating among the 18-49s That was a significant double-digit drop from the 2018 Emmys on NBC, which aired on a Monday.

Looking at the last time ABC hosted the Emmys, last night’s show was down 47% in viewership and 60% in the key demo from the early numbers of the 2016 ceremony. Marking Kimmel’s second time as Emmy host, that September 18, 2016 show, which was held on a Sunday and did face SNF, ended up with an audience of 11.38 million and a demo rating of 2.8, both lows at the time.

We will of course update this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards ratings as we get more data today.

In terms of last night’s Sunday Night Football, the NBC and NFL flagship show had the hometown Seattle Seahawks beating the now Tom Brady-less New England Patriots 35-30 in an audience-free game due to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Dominated by Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, the often-thrilling gridiron matchup also saw the Patriots and their QB Cam Newton struggle the whole night against the Seahawks’ wall of defense – as you can see:

Still, with numbers certain to tick upward in the final data, the 8:20 PM ET-starting SNF took a tumble, pulling in 14.09 million viewers in the early metrics and a 4.2 in the ratings. That is down 5% in audience and 11% in the demo from the early numbers of last week’s official SNF season debut. That game on September 14 which saw the Los Angeles Rams beat the Dallas Cowboys shifted up a bit to 18.94 million viewers and a 6.2 rating for the Comcast-owned network and the league in the final numbers.

Scoring 15.87 million viewers and a demo rating of 5.3 in the early numbers, last year’s SNF Week 2 game on September 15, 2019 between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles did not face the 2019 Emmys. The small screen ceremony took place the following week.

Like with the 2020 Emmys, we will update this year’s SNF numbers as they come in. It was a clear win for NBC with SNF last night, even with the game down from last week. Check out the rest of the night’s ratings, including the season debut of 60 Minutes in our chart below:

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