Primetime Ratings: Early Returns Show Emmy Ratings Gains

NFL on NBC does not appear to hurt awards show, also performs strong

The 61st Primetime Emmy awards earned a 4.2 rating in the 18-49 demo and drew 13.3 million viewers, according to preliminary live-plus-same-day numbers. Those numbers mark increases compared to last year's show and makes it the most-watched Emmys in three years, a significant increase. Still, the network was handily beaten by heavy competition from NBC, which aired the Dallas Cowboys/New York Giants matchup, the first NFL game in the Cowboy's new stadium.

Last year's Emmys hit a record low with a 3.8/9 rating. Its 12.3 million viewers matched the least-watched in the award show's history (1990). While this year's gains may be modest (8% in viewers and 11% in ratings), it stabilized the numbers in a year when even some Emmy winners invoked gallows humor about the state of the broadcast television and awards shows.

While ratings are still preliminary, it appears as though both the NFL game and the Emmys were able to co-exist, with NBC saying that the overnights were the highest they have seen since the network started broadcasting Sunday Night Football, earning a 16.5/27 in metered-market households.

CBS took first place at 7 p.m. with NFL overrun and a portion of 60 Minutes coming in at a 5.6/17, with 18 million viewers. NBC was next at 3.2/10 for Football Night in America. Fox's reruns of American Dad (1.5/5) and The Simpsons (1.7/5) averaged a 1.6/5. The first hour of ABC's broadcast of King Kong drew a 0.9/3.

NBC took first at 8 p.m. with the Cowboys/Giants game charting a 7.9/21 and 21.2 million viewers. The Emmys opening hour came in at 4.5/12 with 14.9 million tuning in. Fox was third at 2.4/6 for back-to-back Simpsons reruns. ABC's King Kong earned a 1.1/3. The CW was fifth at 0.4/1 for a rerun of The Beautiful Life.

At 9, the NFL game on NBC rose to 8.9/21 with 23.2 million viewers. The Emmys dipped slightly to 4.4/10 and 13.7 million tuning in. Fox was third at 2.4/6 for reruns of Family Guy (2.6/6) and American Dad (2.1/5). The third hour of King Kong on ABC drew a 1.4/3. The CW fell to 0.3/1 for a rerun of Melrose Place.

Giants/Cowboys was down to 8.3/21 and 20.5 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour. The Emmy fell to 3.6/9 and 11.3 million viewers. The fourth hour of King Kong averaged a 1.2/3.

NBC won the night with a 7.1/19 and 18.5 million viewers. CBS was second at 4.5/12 and 14.5 million viewers. Fox was third at 2.1/6. ABC came in fourth at 1.1/3. The CW finished fifth with a 0.4/1.