As They Turned Even More Political The Emmy Awards Had a Historically Horrid Night of Ratings

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
AP featured image
(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)


Maybe the decision to bring more of what has been failing for years was not the way to go… 

You have to wonder if it is ever going to dawn on Hollywood that as they sink ever deeper into the political quagmire that it is leading to diminishing returns. During this year of the pandemic so much of the industry has been impacted financially you would expect wiser minds would recognize the need to draw in its audience and attempt to broaden the scope, even if it was just a cynical ploy to attract whatever eyes they could, just patch over the losses of revenue.


This being Hollywood, after all, they just could not help themselves. As Entertainment Weekly described, it is possible they outdid their own low standards. 

Hollywood’s top television talent infused the 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards with the current political moment: a period of social re-examination in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and a historic presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden just weeks away. The result was perhaps the most political Emmy telecast ever.


An industry desperate for attention in an environment where sports have even suffered greatly as a result of its activism might have tried to coddle the American public. Instead last night television was honored at The Emmy Awards and the affair was littered with political commentary and activist signaling throughout. The result — the lowest ratings ever for the awards show. The show barely pulled in 5 million viewers, dropping 14% from last year’s dismal performance, and losing a staggering 33% in the core demographic. That is almost staggering.

ABC hosted the event for the first time since 2016 and late night talk host Jimmy Kimmel was the emcee for the virtual show this year. In that time they lost one half of the total viewership. No audience was in attendance and no nominees/winners were present. But the social commentary was in full effect, beginning right away with Kimmel’s monologue.


 “The big question is why would have you an award show in the middle of a pandemic. No seriously, I’m asking why are we having an awards show in the middle of a pandemic,” Kimmel opened. ”This has been a miserable year, a year of division, injustice, disease, Zoom school and death,” he continued, almost daring people to switch off their TVs to something less dire. Then he went on to actually drive off a fair segment of the viewers. 

Of course I’m here all alone. Of course we don’t have an audience. This isn’t a MAGA rally, it’s the Emmys.’’ Then, as he was giving mention to the various programs nominated, there was this quip. ”Watchmen is a superhero show, but it also feels very real. It’s a very realistic show, except for the part where anyone in Oklahoma is wearing a mask.’’ Okay Jimmy, well done — you just excused that share of the audience from watching any further.

Anyone sticking around saw a start-to-finish parade of speeches and signaling, with nearly every winner coming forward with lecturing words, calls for peace, and demands that people go vote. By this point in the show — based on the scant audience figures — these posturing celebrities were clearly preaching to the converted. 

In the era of Donald Trump Hollywood truly turned up its dial of social awareness, beginning with the Oscars held immediately after his inauguration. In that show they were bleating about the attack on the truth and how they would refuse to be silenced — speaking these brave words in front of a crowd of like-minded acolytes, professing the threat of not being heard while speaking to a global audience in the hundreds of millions. 


In the ensuing years they have turned up the rhetoric, kept their feet on the activism pedals, and continued with this level of vocal outreach. In the process, across all the awards shows, the ratings have continued to hit new lows year after year. Considering the luminaries felt that MORE political cant was the way to go you have to begin to speculate just how low the ratings have to go before the reach bottom to only clapping seals who cannot operate a remote.


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