Why the Emmys Tanked

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The ratings for both the Emmys and the Oscars were way down this year. Possibly the lowest ever for the Emmys and close for the other.

At the Emmys, they’re blaming the low ratings on a spoof they did at the beginning wherein several different hosts were vying for the job and some were voted off (or killed, I didn’t watch). You can blame the bad ratings on the opening skit only if people started out by watching it then turned over to something else. If they started out not watching and stayed away, you have to conclude they weren’t going to watch anyway.

Why?

The first (and I think best) reason is that there were so many other better things to watch. From football to reruns of gardening, cable and satellite offer viewers dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of options, almost all of which are more fun to watch than an awards show. If you’re into restoring cars and there’s a show about restoring cars on opposite a show where the show about restoring cars might get an award, odds are you’re still going to check out the show where they actually restore the cars (then maybe check the ‘net the next morning to see if your show won any awards). This is no more insulting to the awards show than if a football fan has a choice between tickets to a football game and a basketball game and chooses the football game.

The second reason, which answers the why of the first one, is that the awards go to shows almost no one watches. I’m not saying the awards should go to the most-watched shows just because they’re most-watched. All of the awards are based on a vote which is, itself, based on entirely subjective opinions. When they give out an award for “Best Lighting”, they’ve moved into a category of opinion most of us don’t have an opinion on. We might recognize bad lighting (i.e. “I can’t see what’s going on” or “In that light, Carmen Electra looks exactly like Phyllis Dillar”), but the intricacies of good lighting are lost on us and who wins it doesn’t interest us. And, I hate to hurt your feelings on this, Hollywood, but the same is true for acting and directing. Oh, we might recognize bad directing if we saw it, and we probably would recognize bad acting, but line up the five nominees in either category and have your general public watch them all we’d probably agree with you that everyone did a good job but we’d be most likely to vote on which one we liked best story-wise. But, in fact, we don't watch "The People's Choice Awards" either, proving that even if popular stuff is nominated we're still not that interested in awards shows.

The whole point of this blog is not to say that the Emmys are stupid or that they shouldn’t have them. The point is that the Emmys (and the Oscars) are for a certain segment of the population and it really shouldn’t bother them if the rest of us don’t give a #$%@ about ‘em. If your peers in the acting or directing community think you did a great job, take the accolades and be proud of your work. If the public took no notice of your work, that should only bother you if you were doing the work for the public.

And why, if they’re calling them all actors (instead of actors and actresses) do they bother giving awards to “Best Male Actor” and “Best Female Actor”? Why not just one "Best Actor" category? They don't want to segregate but they're afraid they have to?