Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards drew 11.3 million viewers, the smallest audience since individual viewership figures began being released on an annual basis in 1982, according to preliminary data released Monday by Nielsen.

The previous low was 11.87 million for last year’s ceremony, which aired on Fox and had the benefit of following an NFL game.

This year’s Emmys — hosted by Jimmy Kimmel at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles — aired opposite NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game and a CBS lineup which benefited from an overrun of its afternoon NFL coverage.

The Emmy telecast annually rotates among the four major broadcast networks.

The record-low Emmy viewership continues a pattern of dropping viewership for awards shows. Viewership for ABC’s Oscars telecast in February was the smallest since 2008, while viewership for CBS’ coverage of the Grammys earlier that month was the lowest since 2009.

The highest viewership figure for the Emmys — 35.8 million in 1986 — came in an era when there were only three major broadcast networks and viewership for cable was much smaller than today.

Final figures are scheduled to be announced on Tuesday but are not expected to be much different from the preliminary figures.

–City News Service 

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