Monday night on the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, co-host Colin Jost made reference to the all-star industry salute’s decline as a major TV draw. He did this by thanking the “thousands of you here in the audience tonight and the hundreds of you watching at home.”
Well, it wasn’t quite that bad, but it was bad.
In the US, according to overnight and same day reports, the show sank to the lowest viewing levels ever, drawing just 10.17 million NBC viewers.
It didn’t even win the night in the US. Monday Night Football, on ESPN, tackled 11.72 million viewers.
As I suggested here prior to the broadcast, the Emmys did proportionally better in Canada. The three hour and two minute broadcast drew 1,847,000 to CTV Monday night in the preliminary national overnight report from Numeris. NFL football is way less of a factor in Canada; 469,000 watched the Seattle/Chicago tilt on TSN.
Shifting the Emmys to Monday night may have had some impact, but the awards show didn’t do much better last year on Sunday.
Was the show any good? Well, it had its moments, and it only went two minutes over. Here’s a quick recap
Let’s start with the positives. Four words not spoken at the awards: Donald Trump Leslie Moonves. Jost and Che, I thought, told some pretty good jokes, just not enough of them. For example:
- “It is an honour to be here sharing this night with the many, many talent people in Hollywood who haven’t been caught yet.”
- “This year the audience is allowed to drink in their seats, because the one thing Hollywood needs right now is people losing their inhibitions at a work function.”
- “Our network NBC has the most nominations of any broadcast network, which is kind of like being the sexiest person on life support…”
- “I heard Roseanne is actually moving to Israel. I mean, damn, how messed up is your life when you have to go to the Middle East just to get peace of mind?”
Che’s filmed bit, “The Reperation Emmys” was a funny idea and worth it just to see Kadeem Hardison, Jimmy Walker and Tim Withspoon again. Bonus points awarded to these hosts for not wandering into the front rows to take selfies to post on Instagram, an annoying awards show host habit of late.
Ayy, sit on it! The Fonz wins an Emmy! You had to feel happy for Henry Winkler, who really is terrific as the weaselly acting teacher on HBO’s Barry. There were a few people I’d hoped would win but never thought would, including Winkler’s co-star Bill Hader as the hit man turned acting pupil on Barry, Matthew Rhys for Best Dramatic Actor in The Americans and Alex Borstein for her comedy club role on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
The wedding proposal. From the director of The Oscars Glenn Weiss! It might have helped ratings as some viewers might have thought they had stumbled on The Bachelor. It would have been even better if Weiss had said, “Cut to camera two! Cut to camera one! Zoom in on the ring…”
When White was a no show at the PBS session for her “First Lady of Television” documentary this past July at the TCA press tour, a few of us thought, uh oh. There she was Monday night, however, a little foggy here and there but still, at 96, invincibly Betty, gleefully dodging another “In Memorium” list.
THE SONG AND DANCE
Nicely kept to a minimum, with the SNL players doing a purposely shoddy tribute to diversity (“We Solved It”) which eventually featured RuPaul, Sterling K Brown, Titus Burgess, Kristen Bell, John Legend and the “One of Each” dancers.
BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME
Those painfully awkward bits with SNL alumni Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen. Memo to Lorne Michaels: these clueless people attempting to be experts bit have never once been funny, ever.
BEST PANT SUIT
SNL player Leslie Jones (standing with RuPaul) dazzled in a shimmering version of the old Hilary Clinton favourite. Jones is this generation’s JoAnne Worley.
EXCELLENT IN MEMORIUM
Well done executive producer Lorne Michaels. Right up to the minute, with Bill Daily and Burt Reynolds making the cut. The clips were well curated, as were the stills. Having Aretha Franklin belting it out under it all elevated it even higher.
Photos by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC