Emmy Viewership Rises Double Digits Over 2020s All-Time Low To Hit 7.4 Million

With a predictable night of winners at the low-drama 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on CBS and a high-stakes battle between the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs over on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, we all thought we knew how this was going to end.

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But, as almost always, the devil is in the details: Turns out TV’s biggest night this year has escaped becoming its own level of hell for the ViacomCBS-owned network.

Coming in at just over three hours and with a Brit boatload of wins for Season 4 of The Crown and Season 1 of Ted Lasso, the Cedric the Entertainer-hosted Emmys snagged 7.4 million viewers on Sunday, according to Nielsen.

Coming off a sting of all-time lows for the Television Academy event, that’s a rise of 16% from last year when Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Emmys on ABC.

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Now, the 2021 Emmys still are down a hard 34% in terms of sets of eyeballs from the last time CBS hosted the ceremony back in the first year of Donald Trump’s reign of error in 2017. It should almost be noted that the 7.4 million number is just for linear TV. No out-of-home or Paramount+ streaming data has been released yet, though I hear the latter was strong-ish.

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Also, when you do the math, Sunday night’s Emmys hold the distinction of being the third-least-watched ever behind 2020 and 2019. Held on a Monday on NBC, the 2018 Emmys pulled in 10.2 million, a low at the time.

Still, facing the tens of millions who tuned in for SNF’s thrilling Ravens win over the Chiefs and with no overrun bounce from the afternoon NFL game on CBS, up is a win by any measure for the Emmys. Even more so in an era where awards shows have been falling to near life-support levels year after year.

In early numbers, SNF snared an audience of 16.1 million to easily win the night for Comcast-owned NBC. As with all live events, like sports and the Emmys, that result will rise to as time-zone-adjusted data comes in. We will update with final SNF viewership when we get it.

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