Emmy Awards buck the trend - ratings went up

Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

CBS aired the 73rd Emmy Awards on Sunday night. The ratings are in and they are up for the show. This is a plot twist that will be welcomed by the self-congratulatory narcissists who enjoy nothing more than dressing up and patting themselves on the back and having it all televised. Ratings of award shows have been dramatically down for several seasons.

Is the downward trend in ratings beginning to ease up for the entertainment industry? That remains to be seen but for the Emmys the answer this year is yes. The Emmys ratings are up 16% and 7.4 million televisions were tuned in. I covered the show for NewsBusters and I readily admit that it’s a surprise that people still watch these shows. There is something this year that we haven’t seen in the last four years, though, and it may be the reason for the increase in viewership. We are in the post-Trump presidency days now and it seems to have mellowed out our political betters in Hollywood so much that now the award shows are borderline downright boring.

This year’s big controversy was over the COVID-19 protocol and the lack of masking by the audience and presenters. The regular people working the event were masked up but the stars and big shots were not. Allahpundit wrote about it yesterday and about how the Hollywood crowd is exempt from the mandates that are in place for mere mortals. Seth Rogen spoke out about the indoor venue, though it was announced that the ceremony would be outdoors to accommodate concerns about the pandemic in August. Something changed and the show was held in a tent with a closed roof, hence Seth’s confusion. The Academy tried to clean it up.

On-site media, all guests, crew, and vendors were required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to be admitted, and also show a negative test for the viral disease taken within 48 hours of the big event, the Television Academy said.

So, why did the help have to wear masks? It should have been everyone wearing masks or no one.

Rather than take place inside the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, where the 2021 Emmys were scheduled to occur, the event will now happen on the Event Deck at L.A. Live which sits directly behind the Microsoft Theater. The venue change affects not just the main Emmy Awards, which occur on September 19, but the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony the weekend prior. The Event Deck at L.A. Live and its proximity to the Microsoft Theater will allow Emmy organizers to mix-and-match indoor and outdoor festivities and provide ample space to socially distance attendees.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that personal hot takes on current events and political opinions spewing from entertainers and producers and writers in Hollywood are no longer the focus of award shows. The shows are slowly coming back as live events after a pause during the darkest points of the pandemic when everyone was locked down. The viewership numbers are down and it’s likely because when one industry trashes one political party exclusively and that party’s voters, they tune out. For the Trump years, we had four years of profanity and crudeness about him and Republican voters in most acceptance speeches. Funny thing, that isn’t happening anymore.

Suddenly, everything is fine. There are no actresses crying about kids in cages, though the humanitarian crisis at the southern border is worse than ever before. There were no anti-war sentiments expressed or criticism of the Commander-in-Chief, though Biden has blood on his hands over the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The only reference to a political hot button came from an actress who received a supporting actress award for her work in Mare of Easttown and from Debbie Allen who received the Governor’s Award for her lifetime achievements in the industry. Both women conflated the lives of women in Texas (and Philadelphia) with the women in Afghanistan. That’s right – Texas is under the control of the Taliban, apparently. There was one really lame skit by the host, Cedric the Entertainer, which centered around the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head during his debate with Kamala. I have no idea why they reached back to that stale event.

Maybe people will tune back in and give the shows a second chance. Their time may have passed, though, and, frankly, it wouldn’t be much of a loss. Regular Americans are not interested in being lectured by the privileged few in the entertainment industry.