The Emmy Awards ended a six-year streak of record-low viewership, benefiting from following NFL programming, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
CBS’ broadcast of Sunday’s three-hour, 15-minute ceremony from the Event Deck of L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles averaged 7.826 million viewers, 23.1% more than last year’s average of 6.36 million.
The six-minute NFL postgame show immediately preceding the ceremony averaged 14.497 million viewers. The 54-minute runover of CBS’ afternoon NFL coverage before the postgame show averaged 25.41 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.
The Emmy Awards were eighth among prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Sept. 13 and Sunday, trailing two NFL games, three pregame shows and two postgame shows.
The Emmy Awards rotate among the four major broadcast networks. The 2020 ceremony was on ABC and did not follow NFL programming. It also faced unprecedented sports competition, airing opposite an NBA playoff game in addition to the customary NBC “Sunday Night Football” and ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” telecasts.
The first 50 minutes of the 2020 ceremony aired opposite the season premiere of the CBS News magazine “60 Minutes” in the Eastern and Central time zones where the bulk of the nation’s population lives.
While viewership for nearly all forms of programming has decreased because of increased viewing of streaming programming, including the same programs shown on traditional television, the years long drop in awards show viewership has accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic.
Viewership for the 2021 Oscars on ABC was a record-low 10.403 million viewers, 55.9% less the 23.569-million average for the 2020 ceremony, which had been a record low.
Viewership for the 2021 Grammys on CBS dropped 50.6% from 2020’s 18.69 million average, the smallest TV audience for the Grammys since 2008.
Viewership for the 2020 Emmys dropped 8.9% from 2019’s 6.978 million average when the ceremony aired on Fox.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the week’s most-watched program, averaging 19.808 million viewers for the Baltimore Ravens’ 36-35 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Viewership was up 12.3% from the 17.639 million average for the previous week’s game, the Los Angeles Rams’ 34-14 victory over the Chicago Bears.
With its 22-hour schedule including four hours of NFL programming and four hours of the season’s final two “America’s Got Talent” episodes, NBC was the most-watched network, averaging 5.31 million viewers.
ABC was second averaging 4.9 million viewers and CBS third, averaging 4.41 million, both also for 22 hours of prime-time programming. Fox was fourth among the major broadcast networks, averaging 1.75 million viewers for 15 hours, 59 minutes of prime-time programming.
The CW again was fifth among the five major English-language broadcast networks, averaging 420,000 viewers for its 12 hours of programming.
The Tuesday “America’s Got Talent” episode was 10th for the week, averaging 7.425 million viewers, and the Wednesday episode 12th, averaging 6.391 million.
ABC’s most-watched program was its simulcast with ESPN of “Monday Night Football,” which had a combined audience of 14.46 million viewers, fourth for the week, with an average of 6.89 million watching on ABC.
Outside of its NFL programming, ABC’s most-watched programs were Penn State’s 28-20 victory over Auburn on “Saturday Night Football,” ninth for the week, averaging 7.606 million viewers, and a rerun of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” 13th for the week, averaging 4.463 million viewers.
Fox’s most-watched programs were its seven-minute NFL postgame show which averaged 11.37 million, fifth for the week, and “MasterChef,” 48th for the week, averaging 2.533 million.
The Canadian crime drama “Coroner” was The CW’s most-watched program, averaging 680,000 viewers to finish 157th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
“Monday Night Football” was the most-watched prime-time cable program, averaging 7.566 million viewers.
Fox News Channel finished first in prime time among cable networks for the 11th consecutive week, averaging 2.625 million viewers. ESPN was second, averaging 1.942 million viewers, and MSNBC third, averaging 1.33 million.
CNN was seventh for the third consecutive week, averaging 793,000 viewers, also trailing fourth-place HGTV (1.063 million), fifth-place Hallmark Channel (894,000) and sixth-place TLC (888,000).
The Monday episode of the Univision telenovela “Si nos dejan” was the most-watched prime-time Spanish language program, averaging 1.823 million viewers, 47th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 94th consecutive week and 96th time in 97 weeks, averaging 1.32 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.07 million viewers, followed by UniMas (500,000), Estrella TV (130,000) and Azteca America (40,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 94th consecutive week, the 145th time in 146 weeks and the 197th time in 199 weeks, averaging 7.883 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.556 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 4.763 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and its 10-minute pre-kickoff show; CBS’ six-minute NFL postgame show; the ABC-ESPN “Monday Night Football” simulcast; Fox’s six-minute NFL postgame show; the 19-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; the 14-minute “Monday Night Football” pregame show simulcast on ABC and ESPN; CBS’ Emmy Awards telecast; ABC’s “Saturday Night Football” game between Auburn and Penn State; and the Tuesday edition of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”