Hey, who’s up for several hours of celebrities droning on about politics and how their audiences are idiots for their electoral choices? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
At least in terms of preliminary ratings reported by TV Line, the answer appears to be as unsurprising as last night’s political tone:
CBS’ broadcast of the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards is looking at a new all-time low, at least in the preliminary ratings.
Scoring an 8.2/14 in metered market ratings, the show was down a tick from the 8.4/13 that ABC and Jimmy Kimmel woke up to a year ago. (The 2016 kudoscast went on to post 11.3 million total viewers and a 2.8 demo rating, which at the time marked all-time lows.)
If this firms up in final ratings, it will surpass 2016 as the worst-rated Emmys of all time, and 2016 surpassed the previous low, and so on. In fact, as Newsweek pointed out yesterday, the Emmys have lost 50% of their audience since 2013 and the lowest ratings since 1990, and last night’s extravaganza certainly didn’t turn the ship around. One could blame the plethora of TV choices viewers have, including streaming, but those didn’t arrive only in 2014. Consumers have had lots of choice for two decades or more, and yet the sharp decline only started in the past few years. Why?
The Daily Beast’s Matt Wilstein might have inadvertently put his finger on the problem:
Stephen Colbert rose to the top of the late-night ratings — and scored himself an Emmy nomination — by going after President Donald Trump night after night on The Late Show. So there was something ironic about him using his opening number as host of the Emmy Awards to argue that television is the perfect distraction from the world’s problems.
Not ironic — hypocritical, especially given the inevitable Trump- and conservative-bashing that followed. And in the end, it’s also counterproductive. No one is under any delusion that Hollywood’s political and cultural environment matches with that of broader America, except perhaps Hollywood itself. Rather than take a night off to celebrate their own accomplishments and promote their own products, they spend it on a political rally that demeans a majority of the people they supposedly want to entertain with “distractions.” Small wonder that the only people showing up to spend several hours slogging through self-congratulations interrupted by political lecturing are almost all those who are already singing in the choir — and that their numbers keep declining.
Interestingly, another gala demonstration of self-congratulation with minimal suspense rated 50% higher, although it’s also slipping somewhat:
Providing stiff competition, NBC Sunday Night Football‘s Packers/Falcons match-up scored a 12.6/21 in metered market ratings (down from a year ago’s 13.7/22).
On a more positive note, Sean Spicer’s prediction batting average remains perfect, as Allahpundit pointed out in the previous post. Frankly, I’m at a loss to explain (a) why Spicer got invited, and (b) why he agreed to do it. I suppose all the outrage over it makes it a little worthwhile.
— Jennifer Palumbo (@JenNimePalumbo) September 18, 2017
Update: Hey, not hay. I’ve corrected the first word of the post. You’d think a guy who gets called “Mr. Ed” on a regular basis would remember the distinction.