Speed Reads

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Emmys draws its smallest audience of all time

TV's biggest night drew a shockingly small audience. 

Monday's Emmy Awards attracted a mere 5.92 million viewers on NBC, the smallest audience in the awards show's history, Deadline reports. That's down from last year's show, which drew about 7.8 million viewers on CBS. 

The 2021 Emmys surprisingly reversed a downward trend for the ceremony's ratings, increasing over the prior year. But Monday's broadcast couldn't continue that momentum, sinking even below the previous all-time worst showing: 2020's pandemic Emmys, which drew about 6.36 million viewers.

Hosted by Kenan Thompson, Monday's Emmys saw HBO's Succession win best drama series for the second time, while Apple's Ted Lasso won best comedy series for the second consecutive year. Both outcomes were expected, and there were few major surprises during the broadcast, which included many repeat winners like Jason Sudeikis, Zendaya, Jean Smart, and Brett Goldstein. Abbott Elementary's Sheryl Lee Ralph and Squid Game's Lee Jung-jae were among the first-time winners. 

The Emmys were held on a Monday night this year rather than the traditional day of Sunday as not to conflict with Sunday Night Football, though they still had to compete with Monday Night Football. It wasn't clear if being held on Monday could have been a factor in the low ratings, but it's worth noting the Emmys were also on a Monday in 2018, and that show still managed to pull over 10 million viewers. 

But year after year, audiences continue to gravitate away from live awards shows, whether it's the Emmys, the Grammys, or the Oscars, all of which keep sinking to new lows. Even Squid Game, the most popular Netflix series ever, being nominated didn't help boost viewership. As host Kenan Thompson might say … what up with that?