The audience level for the 74th Emmy Awards hit a new low for the trophy show celebrating the TV industry.
NBC’s telecast hosted by “Saturday Night Live” favorite Kenan Thompson scored 5.9 million viewers Monday, according to Nielsen data.
The figure is down 20% from last year’s telecast on CBS (7.4 million viewers), which was up slightly over 2020, when the previous low of 6.37 million viewers was set on ABC.
Last year’s telecast was helped by a lead-in from Sunday NFL coverage on CBS. The Emmys air on Monday when NBC’s turn in the four network rotation comes up due to its “Sunday Night Football” commitments.
The Emmy Awards airs on a broadcast network, but most of the night rewarded shows presented on HBO and streaming services Apple TV+ and Hulu.
Although streamers are at the creative vanguard of television, they have splintered the audience, making an event such as the Emmys more difficult to achieve broad appeal.
“For most viewers tuning in they are lucky to recognize a quarter of the people who are nominated,” said one veteran network executive who declined to speak on the record.
HBO was the big winner on the night with 11 awards presented on the broadcast. The only multiple winner on the broadcast side was ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” which won for supporting actress in a comedy (Sheryl Lee Ralph) and writing (Quinta Brunson). HBO’s “Succession” won in the drama category and the Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso” earned honors in comedy.
The Emmys are not alone among award shows seeing their audiences decline. Nearly ever major trophy ceremony has hit all-time lows in recent years, including the Oscars.
The 2022 Oscars ceremony saw a bounce-back earlier in the year, in part due to Will Smith’s on-stage slap of presenter Chris Rock. The Grammys drew about 9.6 million viewers earlier this year, in the same range of its low point in 2020.