The 2015 Primetime Emmys’ ratings were at an all-time low for the awards show

2015 primetime emmy ratings awards
Joe Seer /

The 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards turned out to be a great night for diversity, but not so much for ratings. Variety reports that the show drew in 11.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen data, which is the smallest audience ever recorded for the annual event. Viewers dropped by almost 4 million compared to last year when the show aired on NBC.

One major factor was working against live viewership: the Emmys were up against an NFL game. While the awards show aired, the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks faced off in a close game on Sunday Night Football, with the game offering a rematch of last season’s shocking NFC Championship. According to Deadline, the match-up scored the second-highest ratings for any Week 2 SNF game in NBC history.

When NBC took its turn broadcasting the Emmys last year, it bumped the show forward to late August. The show typically airs on September, moving only when NBC is airing it. Additionally, the network held the event on a Monday, so there was no competition from the nation’s favorite pro sport.

Prior to Sunday, the lowest-rated Emmys show on record was a tie between a 1990 broadcast by Fox and 2008’s on ABC (12.3 million). The audiences were a mere fraction of the 36 million people who caught the show live on NBC during the height of the event’s popularity in 1986. Of course, technology has changed drastically since then, with many people timeshifting or viewing the highlights online after the fact. In recent years, 2013’s show on CBS had the highest ratings, bringing in 17.8 million viewers.

While TV ratings for the live show may have been down, those who did tune it got to enjoy the 2015 Emmys’ many highlights and fun moments. Amazon in particular seemed thrilled about the event; the company has announced plans to celebrate its Emmy wins with special show-inspired introductory pricing for Amazon Prime.