Wednesday, after I posted a calendar of key award dates ahead, media wag Daryn Kagan (DarynKagan.com) noticed that the Emmys will be held at an unusual time. At Facebook, she posted this comment: "Is that early for Emmys? Aren't they usually early/mid-September?"
Yes, Daryn. Very observant of you, m'friend! The Emmys are usually held in September as a way of saluting the best of last year's TV programs while we welcome the newest crop of series premieres. Since TV ratings usually run high in September, the TV awardfest usually fares well in the Nielsens.
But since the Emmys usually do relatively well, even during low rating periods, the networks sometimes like to stick the Emmys in August as a way to perk up one of the poorest Nielsen months. Ratings usually are low while many American families are distracted with late-summer vacations.
NBC is the upcoming telecaster. Back in 2006, it moved the Emmys to late August so it wouldn't compete with its schedule of NFL football games aired on Sunday nights. Most Emmy watchers predicted disastrous TV ratings as a result, but viewership was actually OK -- the highest-rated Emmycast of the last four years. That stat may not mean much, however, considering that all broadcast-TV viewership continues to decline year after year as cable increases.
This August, the Emmycast will air live on both coasts for the first time since 1976, which was the last year of the old live East Coast and West Coast simulcast.
EMMYCAST VIEWERSHIP IN RECENT YEARS
Sept. 20, 2009 – 13.4 million viewers (CBS)
Sept. 21, 2008 – 12.3 million (ABC)
Sept. 16, 2007 – 12.9 million (Fox)
Aug. 27, 2006 – 16.1 million (NBC)
Sept. 18, 2005 – 18.6 million (CBS)
Sept. 19, 2004 – 13.7 million (ABC)
Sept. 21, 2003 – 17.9 million (Fox)
Sept. 22, 2002 – 19.9 million (NBC)
Nov. 4, 2001 – 17.1 million (CBS)
Sept. 10, 2000 – 21.7 million (ABC)
Sept. 12, 1999 – 17.4 million (Fox)