Awful presentation leads to lowest-rated Emmy show of all time
When Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane had a disastrous stint hosting the the Academy Awards in 2013, I noted: “There’s nothing like seeing Hollywood in smarmy, self-congratulatory mode while the public is abandoning broadcast prime-time network television and terrestrial radio for alternatives with movie attendance declining thanks to media consolidation, which no one hardly talks about anymore. More and more jobs are lost in the industry while Steven Spielberg does all he can to buy another Oscar. Our cable and satellite bills continue to go through the roof while programming rates skyrocket and these “stars” get richer and richer. There are real problems in Hollywood, but no one wants to address them until its too late.”
This sums the latest awards show fiasco, the 71st Annual Emmy Awards.
As one who has watched his share of Emmy Awards, Sunday night’s show had to rank as the one of the worst in recent memory. The program was completely panned on social media, and then some.
Trying to duplicate what the Oscars did, the Emmy went hostless as the open began with Homer Simpson (animated, of course) who is now to Fox what Bozo is to WGN – a corporate mascot. After a piano fell on him (animated, of course), Anthony Anderson ran up on stage to try to “save the show”… while he and his mom helped themselves a whole boatload of Emmys. Afterward, he grabs someone resembling Bryan Cranston.
Funny, I thought he grabbed Cubs manager Joe Maddon and put him in charge. Because the rest of the show was an outright embarrassment – just as bad as watching Chicago’s Northside Baseball Team’s “attempt” to play baseball in the past week.
This also explains why Thomas Lennon (of the failed Odd Couple revival of a few years back) was put in as a “commentator” and it’s obvious he should’ve been pulled because he was getting roasted on social media just like a Cubs relief pitcher. Jokes about Chernobyl and Deerfield “rioting and turning over cars” (after native Alex Borstein won) were not funny at all, given the city Deerfield is a suburb of came very close to doing exactly that last year had the Jason Van Dyke verdict went the other way.
Speaking of McFarlane, we were reminded Family Guy (which was actually a funny show at one time) was still on the air with jokes about Bill Cosby being in jail and Roseanne Barr being a nazi. They haven’t killed Meg off yet? Missing was Mancow, whom like this show and The Simpsons, we can’t get rid of.
The skits were awful and the musical numbers were dumb, especially the “laser eye surgery” bit Maya Rudolph and Ike Barinholtz foisted on us while trying to read the nominees. And worse, Fox tried to shove The Masked Singer down our throats, as the Emmys became one huge promotional platform for this vastly overrated show.
In terms of awards, the broadcast networks won just two – both for NBC’s Saturday Night Live as streaming services and cable basically swept the Emmys with a sitcom I’ve never heard of winning for Best Comedy (Amazon’s Fleabag) and as expected, the academy basically gifted HBO’s Game of Thrones for Best Drama for its final season, despite how bad it was to many.
There were some terrific moments – such as Billy Porter becoming the first gay person to win an Emmy for FX’s Pose; and Michelle Williams advocating for equal pay in her acceptance speech. But they were too far and too in-between.
If you care, click here to see the list of winners and nominees.
Not surprisingly, the 71st Emmy Awards were a ratings disaster with a record-low 6.9 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in the adults 18-49 demo.
What I wrote in 2013 after McFarlane’s awful OScar hosting stint still stands today and applies directly to last night’s debacle. And it’s even worse as broadcast companies and cable/satellite providers are increasingly getting into retransmission consent spats with each other, blacking out channels such as CBS and the near-blackout of ABC stations on DirecTV. Unless you’re a fan of Fleabag or Pose or whatever these shows are, there is really nothing for the viewer to celebrate in this show, so why tune in?
There are people asking why the four broadcast network continue to broadcast the Emmys every year. So I’ll let Variety’s Michael Schneider explain it to you:
Broadcast networks still want to be seen as TV's town square, so the optics of losing the Emmys, the most important event about TV all year, is something they probably don't want to deal with — the narrative of them losing the Emmys would be akin to "shut the lights off."
— Michael Schneider (@franklinavenue) September 23, 2019
Also, I’m guessing affiliates wouldn’t be happy with the loss of a major awards show to cable or streaming – not their opinion matters or anything.
Plus, while streaming programs and premium cable fare draw a lot of buzz, very few viewers tune in as I pointed out earlier, I’ve never heard of Fleabag as I rarely watch Amazon shows – not to mention there are more than 1,000 shows in the marketplace and nobody can keep up with them all.
Sunday night’s show was a total garbage fest – odd for a program celebrating the best television of the year. If the Academy wants to produce this kind of dreck like this, then maybe they should move next year’s Emmys to the new Marquee Network where they’ll feel right at home with a fumbling Cubs team owned by Tom Ricketts and run by Sinclair Broadcasting.