Final Ratings: Virtual Emmys, Not Unexpectedly, Hit a New Audience Low

TV’s biggest night is looking at its smallest audience.

Now updated with Nielsen finals (which now include out-of-home viewing), ABC’s broadcast of the 2020 Emmys on Sunday night averaged 6.4 million total viewers and a 1.3 demo rating, down 7 percent from last year’s all-time audience low while sliding 19 percent in the demo — which is not unexpected, given multiple on- and off-screen obstacles.

In addition to the pandemic-era telecast’s virtual nature, this was the first time ever the Emmys aired against both NBC Sunday Night Football and the NBA Playoffs on the East Coast in primetime, and the first time in 24 years the telecast had a “regular” lead-in (Celebrity Family Feud, which delivered 5 million viewers) versus a themed pre-show.

TVLine readers gave host Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue an average grade of “B-,” while the telecast as a whole earned a “C+.”

Watchmen this year led the Emmy pack with 11 total wins, followed by Schitt’s Creek‘s nine, while Succession and The Mandalorian netted seven wins each. By outlet, HBO claimed 30 prizes to Netflix’s 21, while Pop TV placed third with 10. All told, cable and streaming shows — exactly as they did last year — claimed 86% of the Emmys to broadcast TV’s 14%.

Elsewhere on Sunday:

NBC | Sunday Night Football‘s audience (14.3 million) is down 6 percent from last week’s fast nationals.

CBS | Leading out of the 60 Minutes season opener (7.5 mil/1.3 rating) and pending adjustment due to NFL delays, Big Brother (3.5 mil/0.9) slipped two tenths week-to-week, while Love Island (1.7 mil/0.4) dipped one tenth.

The Live+Same Day numbers reported in our ratings column do not reflect a show’s overall performance, given the increased use of delayed playback via DVR and streaming platforms, plus out-of-home viewing. These numbers (Nielsen fast nationals, unless denoted as finals) instead aim to simply illustrate trends or superlatives. Warning: Contents may be hot!

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