Last Night’s Emmys Were the Least-Watched Ever

Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images

Despite finishing on time and generating some great reviews, Sunday night’s Emmy Awards broadcast will go down as the least-watched in modern TV history. Per preliminary national Nielsen data, the Andy Samberg–hosted coronation of HBO productions Game of Thrones, Veep, and Olive Kitteridge drew just 11.9 million same-day viewers, falling below the previous record-low viewership of 12.2 million in 2008. No doubt hurting tune-in: The Emmys had to battle both a prime-time football game on NBC and a new episode of AMC’s nascent hit Fear the Walking Dead. Both those factors drove viewership down nearly 4 million viewers from last summer, when 15.6 million caught the TV kudos on NBC. The 2014 show aired in late August, when ratings are typically a bit depressed, as viewers take their final summer vacations or get ready to head back to school. But last year’s show also had an advantage: It didn’t have to go up against an in-season NFL game or a spinoff of one of TV’s biggest hits. Maybe it’s time the TV Academy and its broadcast network partners consider permanently moving the Emmys away from the Sunday night programming traffic jam.