A mere 5.9 million people tuned in for “television’s biggest night,” representing a 25% decrease compared to last year, according to the New York Post. This year’s show also reportedly had a 1.0 rating among adults aged 18 to 49, which is the lowest score the Emmys ever received among this core demographic.
The steep decline can’t even be blamed on COVID aftermath. In 2021, there was a 16% increase in viewership compared to 2020. The Post notes that the last time the awards show gained double-digit results was in 2018 when it squeaked past that goalpost with 10.2 million viewers. This year the show was broadcast live from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles after going virtual in 2020 and filming in a large tent in 2021.
There’s been a trend away from award shows in recent years, and the Emmys is no exception. While there were no major controversies at the 2022 show comparable to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards earlier this year, there also weren’t any standout moments that would inspire fans to tune in.
“Abbott Elementary” got a lot of buzz for winning Outstanding Casting, Outstanding Writing, and Outstanding Supporting Actress. But that was tainted by an incident where comedian Jimmy Kimmel laid on the stage playing dead during the entirety of creator Quinta Brunson’s acceptance speech. She was in on the bit and later professed she didn’t care, but that wasn’t enough to stop Twitter from coming after Kimmel with claims of racism and sexism.
“White men really are insufferable,” one Twitter user complained.
HBO’s “The White Lotus” was also a big winner Monday night, taking home awards for five categories for which it was nominated. “Squid Game’s” Lee Jung-jae won for Best Actor. “Succession” won best drama much to the disdain of “Better Call Saul” fans who were hoping to see the show break its 46 Emmy nomination streak with no win curse. “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV+ took home Outstanding Drama Comedy series.
One of the most talked about jokes of the evening was at actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s expense. The 47-year-old A-lister has been mercilessly mocked since breaking up with his model girlfriend, Camila Morrone, soon after her 25th birthday.
“Zendaya just turned 26 last week, happy birthday,” actor Kenan Thompson quipped during the broadcast. “26 is a weird age in Hollywood. I mean, you’re young enough to play a high school student but too old to date Leonardo DiCaprio.”