By Meredith Stewart
Just like everything else in 2020, The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards were disappointing. The annual television awards show attracted a measly 6.1 million viewers (a one million person decrease from the seven million in 2019). However, the production itself is not totally to blame for this, but more so the circumstances in which it occurred.
Over the years, sports have become more and more popular. Football and basketball games now compete with big time award’s shows for the millions of Americans flipping through channels on Sunday nights. NBA Finals coverage, a tight basketball game, and an intense game of football all vied for the eyes of cable watchers across the country. Ultimately, viewers chose their beloved sports over The Emmys. One particular group of people more attracted to the world of fast paced competition proved to be younger watchers. A mere half the amount of adults under 50 who watched the awards show in 2018 tuned in this year.
Although I wish sports games were the only thing keeping the Emmys from being a smashing success, I cannot ignore the dark cloud which looms over all of our lives right now: the pandemic. Shows simply were unable to be produced in time for recognition on the biggest night of T.V. Channels such as ABC relied on reruns over the summer. People got out of the habit of sitting down for a new episode of whatever enticing show they were watching decreasing the number of Americans viewing Broadcast T.V.
We all know by now that watching a virtual anything is just not the same. The award’s show used old footage to create the illusion of a full theatre when in reality the only person there was the host, Jimmy Kimmel. However real it may have looked, it couldn’t compete with seeing celebrities in their fashion forward outfits, witnessing the host cracking jokes, and seeing closeups of audience members laughing in real time. Watching the heads of the winners give their speeches over a zoom call just felt like any other of the many boring and awkward zoom calls we experience in everyday life. It’s safe to say that The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards had its excuses, but despite the challenges it faced, the show actually gave ABC its most Sunday viewings since April. So… hooray?
This is really insightful Meredith! I personally didn’t tune into the Emmys this year, and your article perfectly unpacked why I might not have.