Early Emmy ratings down, yet second-best in years

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It was the first Monday night Emmys in 38 years. Will it be another 38 years before a network does it again?

In the early numbers, the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were down about 10 percent from last year. Though more accurate live-adjusted ratings are still to come (which could boost matters slightly), the show’s performance is expected to remain below last year’s Neil Patrick Harris-hosted show.

The Emmys received a 10.9 household rating from 8 to 11 p.m. ET in the 56 top markets measured by Nielsen Media Research. There was some real upside to this performance, however. This is the second-highest Emmy overnight in eight years, only topped by last year’s performance. And it’s NBC’s highest-rated Monday in these measurements—excluding the Olympics—in seven years.

Though NBC shifting the awards from Sunday to Monday this year has drawn plenty of industry attention, the awards also aired considerably earlier (last year’s ceremony was on Sept. 23) and benefited from an NFL lead-in.

So when you include all the factors—the Emmys aired earlier in the year, on a Monday, and yet saw its second-best viewership since 2006—this performance is probably about what NBC should have expected, and might even be slightly better than that.

As host Seth Meyers joked in his monologue last night: “This year we’re doing the Emmys on a Monday night in August—which, if I understand television, means the Emmys are about to get canceled.”


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