Airing four months later than usual and on an especially crowded night of TV, the Emmy Awards drew their smallest audience ever.
Fox’s broadcast averaged 4.46 million viewers in Nielsen’s final same-day ratings. That’s down about 25 percent from the previous low of 5.92 million for the 2022 Emmys, which aired on NBC. The awards hit a low in viewers for the fifth time in the past six years.
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The show also hit an all-time low among adults 18-49 with a 0.87 rating, down 20 percent from 1.09 in 2022.
More so than past years, however, the small tune-in for the Emmys on Monday might have been circumstantial. The awards were pushed off of their usual September spot as strikes by writers and actors for better contracts and working conditions were ongoing at the time. Scheduling them for Monday night meant the Emmys aired opposite the final game of the NFL’s wild card playoff round on ABC and ESPN and against coverage of the Iowa caucuses on cable news channels.
Airing in the middle of Hollywood’s first-quarter awards season also meant the Emmys were giving trophies to a host of winners from other gatherings. The three shows that took home most of Monday’s honors — The Bear, Beef and Succession — did the same two other times in the previous week at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. (The Globes drew 9.47 million viewers, up 51 percent year-to-year with the help of an NFL lead-in, on CBS. The Critics Choice Awards averaged 1.04 viewers on The CW, up from 910,000 a year ago.)
On the plus side for Fox, the Emmys gave the network its most watched Monday night (excluding sports) since May 2022. The broadcast, hosted by Anthony Anderson, received mostly positive reviews; The Hollywood Reporter critic Daniel Fienberg said the Emmys showed “true affection for the thing that the show was celebrating.”
Elsewhere, the NFL wild card game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles drew 28.62 million viewers (pending updates) on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 (along with digital platforms ESPN+ and NFL+), eclipsing everything else in primetime. It was off by about 8 percent from the same broadcast window last year — which was both NFL legend Tom Brady’s final game and featured the Dallas Cowboys, the league’s top TV draw.
Coverage of the Iowa caucuses averaged 4.67 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. ET across Fox News (2.83 million), MSNBC (1.15 million) and CNN (688,000), down considerably from a combined average of about 8.5 million viewers four years ago. Former President Donald Trump easily won the Republican vote, with all three outlets calling the race before 9 p.m. ET. Democrats in the state are conducting a mail-in vote and will announce results in March; incumbent President Joe Biden isn’t facing any serious primary challengers.
Jan. 16, 3:40 p.m. Updated with ratings figures for the ABC/ESPN primetime NFL playoff game.
Jan. 17, 1:15 p.m. Updated with final ratings for the Emmys.
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