Despite the best efforts of host Jimmy Kimmel to champion “Black Lives Matter,” despite a mini “Friends” reunion with Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, despite the fact that many people are watching television because of lockdowns, Sunday’s broadcast of the Emmys plunged to an all-time low, with only 6.1 million viewers paying attention to the Hollywood crowd. Last year’s show reached roughly 6.9 million people.
In 2000, the Emmys were watched by 21.8 million viewers; in 2010 that had dropped to 13.5 million viewers. Forbes reported that a key factor in the decline of the show’s ratings is the political slant of the program:
A 2017 study conducted among 800 people by the National Research Group discovered that 68% of Trump voters disliked political speeches at the Oscars, so much so, that 66% of them have turned off the TV set because an actor gave a political speech at the podium. With the country split into nearly two equal fractions, award shows that include political statements from the hosts and winners alienate half of the potential audience. The recent Emmy Awards was no different with overt and subtle, scripted and unscripted comments about the current administration in Washington.
There was the usual snapping at President Trump this year; this time it emanated from Jesse Armstrong, the creator of “Succession,” bleating, “To President Trump, for his crummy and uncoordinated response. Un thank you to Boris Johnson and his government for doing the same in my country. Un thank you to the nationalist and sort of quasi nationalist governments in the world doing sort of the opposite of what we need right now. Un thank you to the media moguls who do so much to keep them in power.”
Kimmel himself was featured in a cringeworthy duet with “Black-ish” actor Anthony Anderson, who demanded that Kimmel “Say it with me, Jimmy: Black Lives Matter.”
Kimmel complied: “Black Lives Matter.” Anderson loudly prompted Kimmel again, “Louder, Jimmy!” Kimmel: “Black Lives matter!” Anderson: “Louder, Jimmy! Say it so that Mike Pence can hear it!”
Kimmel obediently yelled, “Black Lives Matter!”
Kimmel, noting the fact that there was not a live audience this year because of the coronavirus, also mocked Trump by saying, “This isn’t a MAGA rally; it’s the Emmy’s.”
As far back as 2017, the Emmys targeted President Trump as the trio of Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, who had co-starred in the film “9 to 5,” presented the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a miniseries. Indirectly referring to Trump, Fonda brayed, “In that movie, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.” Tomlin added, “And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.” Fans of Parton later criticized her with comments such as, “I’m saddened that you would stand with these idiots and bash our POTUS,” “You just threw so many of your fans under the bus,” and “You stood up there while those two ran their mouths. You are just as bad.”