could have been worse!
Here's something you don't see too often: a modern awards show actually improved its viewership.
Nielsen reported Monday that Sunday's 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards drew about 7.4 million viewers, according to Deadline. That may not sound great, but after a few years of the ceremony's viewership sinking to embarassing new lows, it actually increased this time by about 16 percent.
Last year's Emmys, which took place in an empty arena due to the pandemic, drew the show's smallest audience of all time with just 6.4 million viewers, which was down from the previous low of 6.9 million viewers the year before. Prior to that, 2018's show also reached what at the time was a new low of 10.2 million viewers.
Awards shows have been fairly consistently slipping in the ratings in recent years, taking an especially big hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year's Oscars, for instance, drew just 10.4 million viewers, down significantly from more than 20 million one year prior. Viewership for the 2021 Golden Globes was also disastrous, with a mere 6.9 million people tuning in, down from more than 18 million a year earlier.
Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, Sunday's Emmys saw the streaming shows Ted Lasso and The Crown dominate as expected, with Netflix's The Queen's Gambit and HBO's Mare of Easttown also faring well in the limited series categories. The ceremony brought back a live crowd for the first time in two years, making for quite a different scene than 2020's strange show that involved nominees accepting trophies remotely — though one presenter, Seth Rogen, jokingly raised concerns about whether the size of the crowd on Sunday was actually safe.
To be sure, 7.4 million viewers still makes this among the least-watched Emmys ever. But it speaks to the dire state of awards show ratings that "not the worst in history" can actually be seen as a victory for CBS.