Sunday’s Emmy Awards on CBS rebounded from last year’s disastrous ratings. An average of 18.6 million viewers tuned in for the three-hour 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, according to early figures from Nielsen Media Research. That was a jump of 35% compared with last season’s record-low viewing on ABC, making it the most-watched Emmy telecast since 20 million showed up for NBC’s airing in 2002.
The Emmys, rotated annually among the four major broadcast networks, have seen generally declining ratings in recent years.
Jack Sussman, the CBS executive in charge of specials, said the network was determined this year to create a more “viewer-friendly” event. Key parts of that strategy included the rehiring of host Ellen DeGeneres (she last was host on the twice-delayed 2001 telecast) and a spoof of Fox’s “American Idol” that saw Donald Trump warbling the theme from “Green Acres.”
A late Cleveland-Green Bay game also gave CBS a boost into prime time in many markets.