Absence did not make the heart grow fonder for the 75th Prime Time Emmy Awards.
After being delayed for four months due to the strikes by the actors and writers, the Fox telecast on Monday averaged 4.3 million viewers, a 27% decrease from the previous all-time low of 5.9 million viewers in 2022, according to preliminary data from Nielsen. Final numbers to be issued Wednesday are expected be higher, but the show's status as the least watched ever is not likely to change.
NBC aired the previous Emmy ceremony on Sept. 12, 2022. The awards typically air in late August or early September.
Along with the delay, the drop may be a result of awards show fatigue, as the Golden Globe Awards aired Jan. 7 on CBS and the Critics Choice Awards were shown Sunday on the CW. That meant many trips to the Emmy stage by the same cast members celebrated on all three telecasts.
The four major broadcasters rotate in airing the Emmy telecast.
Viewership of the Golden Globes was up 50% over last year, but still down substantially from 2019, when an average of 19 million viewers tuned in, reflecting an overall decline in viewership at award shows as streaming video has become the preferred platform for viewers in recent years. The Fox telecast from the Peacock Theater — produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment and hosted by comic actor Anthony Anderson — attempted to bridge the delta between older traditional TV viewers and the current generation that has flocked to streaming video platforms for their scripted programming.
Emmy voters mostly celebrated acclaimed streaming hits such as Netflix's limited series "Beef" and FX and Hulu's "The Bear," which won for outstanding comedy and in three acting categories. Perennial Emmy powerhouse HBO also had a strong night with "Succession," which scored three acting wins and trophies for writing and outstanding drama.
But the presenters and comedy bits embraced classic television through the decades, reuniting surviving cast members of such hits as "Cheers," "All in the Family," "Martin," and "Ally McBeal."
While those shows may be unfamiliar to younger viewers, the proliferation of streaming platforms has made them easier than ever to sample if they are so inclined.
The show drew favorable reviews from critics. But the competition was formidable as the final game of the NFL Wild Card weekend, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles aired opposite the Emmys on ABC and ESPN.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.