Based on fast-ordered Nielsen finals, the Neil Patrick Harris-hosted affair averaged (update) 17.6 million total viewers and a 4.9 rating — the kudoscast’s largest audience since 2005 (host Ellen DeGeneres, CBS) and its best demo delivery since 2006 (Conan O’Brien, NBC).
That said, after leading out of a robust NFL game, the Emmys’ audience dipped each half hour throughout the night.
Versus the final numbers for last year’s Emmys (hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, on ABC), Sunday’s telecast was up 32 and 26 percent.
Final Nielsen numbers for other recent Emmycasts:
* 2011, Jane Lynch host (Fox): 12.4 mil, 4.2 rating
* 2010, Jimmy Fallon host (NBC): 13.5 mil, 4.1 rating
* 2009, Neil Patrick Harris host (CBS): 13.3 mil, 4.2 rating
* 2008, That Reality Show Hosts Mess (ABC): 12.2 mil, 3.8 rating (aka all-time lows)
Winning the night, NBC’s coverage of the Chicago Bears-Pittsburgh Steelers game topped the Emmys by 12 percent.