Audience Gives Overhauled Emmy Show A Thumbs Up
More than 13 million people caught Neil Patrick Harris's turn as host of the Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday night.
That's the trophy show's biggest audience in three years and up by more than a million people compared to last year's worst-ever ratings.
It's also a minor miracle, given that this year's orgy of trophy dispensing was a virtual repeat of last year's, with AMC's "Mad Men" winning best drama series, NBC's "30 Rock" taking the nod for best comedy, "30 Rock's" Alec Baldwin once again named best sitcom actor, AMC's "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston a repeater for best drama actor, and FX's "Damages" star Glenn Close once again taking the trophy for best drama actress.
The only relief from the monotony of repetitiveness came when Toni Collette copped the Emmy for best comedy actress for her starring role in Showtime's comedy "United States of Tara" - and then proceeded to give the night's most boring acceptance speech. ("United States of Tara," BTW, is about the lighter side of Dissociative Identity Disorder - anyway that's Showtime's pitch and they're sticking to it with a "One woman. Multiple personalities" show tagline.
This change was actually a step back for the broadcast because the woman who usually wins that competition - "30 Rock's" Tina Fey - usually gives one of the trophy show's best, and most anticipated, acceptance speeches each year.
Anyway, this year's audience increase it also an accomplishment for the show, given that it aired opposite behind NBC's coverage of the New York Giants at the Dallas Cowboys game (at the new Cowboys Stadium), HBO's kickoff of its much anticipated all-about-"Seinfeld" season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," an original episode of AMC's "Mad Men," blah, blah, blah.
CBS proudly noted this year's audience is the biggest for the Emmys since 2006 when -- notably -- the Emmy show did NOT air against a football game.
However, the trophy show enjoyed its biggest audience in its first half hour, when host Neil Patrick Harris performed his opening number. Harris's hosting gig was expected to be one of the shows highlights; he'd gotten great reviews for hosting the most recent Tony Awards, also on CBS, earlier this year. He also got raves Sunday during the Emmycast from the likes of "The Daily Show" anchor Jon Stewart and "Survivor" host Jeff Probst.
And, because the Emmycast aired this year on CBS, which does particularly well in fly-over country, the 13.3 million average audience is expected to go up more than usual when final numbers finally arrive from Nielsen -- on Tuesday.
Did you miss the show? See show highlights, celebrity fashion, read discussion transcripts and more at washingtonpost.com/emmys.
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