TV Ratings: 2017 Emmys Avoid New Low With 11.4 Million Viewers

Stephen Colbert_emmys 2 - Getty - H 2017
Getty Images

The Emmy Awards are becoming a tougher sell for viewers. For another year, initial ratings for the TV awards were down — though the total viewership ultimately just bested the lows from 2016.

The updated haul have Sunday's kudocast averaging 11.4 million viewers for the night, up incrementally from the 2016 show. That's good news after an overnight 8.2 rating among metered market households had it down another 2 percent from the previous year. That means that the final tally for the 2017 Emmys, hosted by Stephen Colbert on CBS, avoids the all-time low 11.3 million viewers that tuned in last year. 

In the key demo of adults 18-49, this year's show did bottom out, slipping 10 percent from a 2.7 rating to a 2.5 rating. Overnight ratings are naturally below those of NBC's Sunday Night Football, which took a 12.6 overnight rating among households. 

Emmy viewership has been dipping steadily over recent years, especially compared to the stronger awards shows such as the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards and the Grammys. The Emmys hit new lows in 2015 and again in 2016, despite relatively strong performances in 2013 and 2014.

Sunday competition from the NFL has certainly been one source of shrinking viewers, but many point to a broadening body of winners — including lesser-watched series on cable and streaming outlets, while broadcast shows go relatively unnoticed — as one reason for smaller tune-ins. Though considering the popularity of 2016 winner Game of Thrones, that argument may not hold that much weight.

Others, including several readers who've already been riled enough to contact me via the link below, will posit that the lows are the result of the many shots fired at President Donald Trump. And while that may be true to a small degree, to say that Sunday's ratings are a rebuke of Colbert and others' mockery of Trump would be ignoring the fact that these scores are only incrementally off from the previous two Emmys.