Emmys: Ratings rise from previous pandemic year

(Screengrab from broadcast)

Good news for CBS, and Paramount+. The 73rd annual Emmys saw its viewership rise to 7.4 million, according to Nielsen’s preliminary numbers.

Over the past decade, major award shows have seen a steady decline in audience, but last year’s ceremonies saw an even steeper decline due to the pandemic and quarantine. The 72nd Emmys only drew 6.3 million viewers, which translated into an all-time low for the show and more importantly, advertisers.

The Oscars ratings also fell. Last April’s ceremony had the fewest viewers the award show has ever received. February’s Golden Globes ratings plummeted 60% to just 6.9 million viewers from 18.3 million viewers during the previous year.

This year’s show according to Nielsen rose 16%. The ceremony’s main competition came from Sunday’s Primetime football matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs on NBC, which had 17.69 million viewers according to CNBC. Clearly, football won.

Sunday’s show got off to a head-bobbing start, with host Cedric the Entertainer opening the night with a karaoke rendition of Just a Friend by Biz Markie, aided by Rita Wilson, LL Cool J and Lil Dicky. Who knew Rita Wilson could throw down rhymes? Watch below:

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The audience, which included about 500 nominees and guests, got in on the party, standing up, clapping and singing along. The energy level was upbeat for the first hour of the show as Ted Lasso snagged two back-to-back acting awards, leading to emotional speeches from first-time winners Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein.

It was tough to keep the energy high. As hard as Cedric tried, the energy level dropped. Other highs included a pretaped sketch featuring popular actors who didn’t win Emmy awards and a short sketch featuring Cedric’s ex-TV wives.

The show also suffered slightly from not having any Black actors win in any of the major categories. Yes, we noticed. And while there were a plethora of BIPOC presenters, most likely due to Executive Producers Reggie Hudlin and Ian Stewart stewardship, the lack of winners was notable.

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Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at colin@reel360.com or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1