Have you ever seen Oscar winner and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow on TV? Well, maybe once, on “Glee.” Oscar winner and movie star Michael Douglas? Yes, on “The Streets of San Francisco” in 1969. But they gave the two biggest awards of the night on the Emmys last night at the end of the show. And that was just one of the reasons viewers had tuned out in droves in third, grueling hour of the 2019 Emmy Awards on Fox.
The ratings last night were the lowest ever. Just 6 million people watched from 8 to 10pm, and then 400K left for the last hour. Just 5.4 million stayed to see which shows won Best Comedy and Best Drama.
Meanwhile, 17 million watched football.
The drop from last year’s 10 million viewers was 23%. And the 2018 numbers were already an 11% fall off.
The show had no host, no live orchestra, and no celebration of the thing it was awarding: television.
The biggest problem with the Emmys was that almost nothing on broadcast television– you know, the free stuff that millions watch — was acknowledged. The Emmys have become the Cable Ace Awards. Everyone who wins comes from cable or internet platforms– you’ve got to pay for it. Even serious actors on network shows– say Linda Hunt on “NCIS” — are ignored. Or really serious stars, like Paul Giamatti and Damien Lewis, from Showtime’s “Billions.”
The big winner for the night was Phoebe Waller-Bridges and her comedy, “Fleabag.” There is no measurable audience for “Fleabag.” No one knows how many people watch it, other than Emmy voters who receive screeners and Amazon subscribers. So if the Emmys are counting on ratings from those groups, good luck.
Then there’s the whole no host thing. The show seemed driven by artificial intelligence. Often, nominees’ names were read by an eerie voiceover, and the voice was neither warm nor witty. Where was the humanity? Even worse, Fox didn’t cough up money for a live orchestra in the Microsoft Theater. The music was all canned, and there were weird choices of disco and other songs that had absolutely nothing to do with the shows or winners. When the “Game of Thrones” theme music was played while two presenters — Anthony Anderson and Randall Park– ambled on stage, even they questioned what the heck was going on.
Why do the Emmys have no presenters or a host from the 90s– the decade most fetishized in nostalgia now? Why is there no one from the rerun shows so loved, and coveted by syndicators, to anchor the proceedings? I love Michael Douglas, and I know he’s on Netflix’s “Kominsky Method,” but TV fans want to see Mark Harmon, or Jerry Seinfeld, or even Carol Burnett, hand out the final statues. And with all the press going on this week, why didn’t they have a “Friends” 25th anniversary tribute? I’m sure Gunther is available.