For the first time in Emmy history, not one program nominated for best drama series was from a major broadcast network.
Yet Sunday night’s 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards still managed to attract a slightly larger audience than last year.
ABC’s telecast delivered 13.2 million viewers, up 6 percent from the 2011 telecast on Fox. Among adults 18-49, however, the show declined 10 percent to a 3.8 rating — tying the all-time Emmys low from back in 2008.
Though creatively hit-and-miss, producers kept the show on schedule, wrapping at three hours (even if that meant playing off the Modern Family team and Game Change winner Julianne Moore to keep things moving). Critics gave high marks to host Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue (though not his Botox-punching cold open bathroom skit). Some of the pre-taped sketches, such as re-imagining AMC’s Breaking Bad as The Andy Griffith Show, also drew laughs. A social media prank where Kimmel encouraged viewers to tweet that Tracy Morgan passed out onstage and tell people to switch on the show seemed to fall flat (looking at the half-hour ratings throughout the telecast, the gimmick didn’t seem to spike viewership, either).
On the awards front, many of the winners were very predictable, with ABC’s Modern Family taking home the award for best comedy yet again (full winners list). But Showtime’s freshman drama Homeland broke Mad Men‘s four-year winning streak for best drama series, while fellow newcomer, FX’s American Horror Story, lost its bid to capture a top category win by aiming for best movie or miniseries.