Did you watch the nighttime Emmy awards last Sunday night? If so, you were among a select few. As they say in showbiz, “the overnights were not good.” Apparently, fewer than 7 million viewers (a third less than last year) tuned in, leaving approximately 321 million sets of American eyeballs looking elsewhere. And if you remove the Los Angeles and New York audiences, well, I’m guessing maybe 112 people in flyover country were tuning in.

I don’t think the quality of TV today is the reason for the dwindling Emmy audience. As a matter of fact, from what I’ve read, those watching the proceedings were told over and over again from presenters and award winners how much variety is available now and how wonderful all the performances are. I have to rely on the accounts of others because I have to admit I was reading a good book at the time of the show.

Years ago, when the telecast commanded a huge “must-see” audience, the next day water cooler discussions could be as intense as arguments over sports teams and what quarterback should not have a job or who the leading Most Valuable Player candidate was as the baseball season wound up its year.

This year, however, I’m wondering if any office worker even mentioned the awards show, let alone made it topic No. 1 while munching morning doughnuts. If one dedicated diehard did want feedback from his or her fellow worker bees, perhaps the conversation might have followed this path:

EW (Emmy Watcher): Can you believe who won the Best Drama award last night?

NEW (Non-Emmy Watcher): You mean Jared Goff?

EW: Who?

NEW: Jared Goff. LA Rams quarterback. Heckuva game Sunday night. 269 yards, 2 TDs.

EW: No, no, not football drama. TV drama. Best actor in a TV drama.

NEW: Oh, I have no clue about that.

EW: Billy Porter for “Pose.”

NEW: Who for what?

EW: Billy Porter. “Pose.” You mean you don’t watch “Pose?”

NEW: Never. I thought pose was something you do when you’re getting your picture taken.

EW: Well, yeah, but it’s also a TV show on FX network.

NEW: FX? That’s a network?

EW: Of course.

NEW: You mean like NBC, CBS, and ABC?

EW: Yeah, just not as big.

NEW: Does it come with my cable package?

EW: I don’t know. It might. But that’s beside the point. Surely you’ve heard of “Barry?” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?” “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver?” “Succession?” “Ozark?”

NEW: Uh, sorry. No, no, no, no, and, uh, no.

EW: How about “Fleabag?”

NEW: “Fleabag?” That’s the name of a TV show?

EW: Yes, it won several Emmy awards.

NEW: Was one of them for a stupid name for a show?

EW: It’s a comedy.

NEW: I would hope so with a name like that.

EW: I can’t believe you’ve never heard of these shows.

NEW: Well, let me ask you this. How many of them are on NBC?

EW: Well, none.

NEW: CBS?

EW: None.

NEW: ABC?

EW: None.

NEW: Any on ESPN?

EW: Hardly.

NEW: Well, that right there might be the problem. What’re they on?

EW: Well, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Sundance, CW, FX, Prime.

NEW: I don’t think I get those channels.

EW: You have to pay extra for them.

NEW: All of them?

EW: Pretty much.

NEW: I see. And how many people watch those channels and shows you mentioned?

EW: I don’t know. Lots. At least a few hundred thousand.

NEW: You know how many millions watched football last weekend?

EW: That’s not the same.

NEW: So, was the host of the Emmys any good this year?

EW: There wasn’t a host.

NEW: People just walked out on stage whenever they wanted to?

EW: No, of course not. There were presenters.

NEW: How many of them told the country how to vote?

EW: It wasn’t like that.

NEW: Yeah, well, that’s how most of those award shows go now.

EW: Oh, wait a minute. “Game of Thrones.” Surely you’ve heard of that show.

NEW: Isn’t that the one with all the sex and violence in it?

EW: Well, yeah, but it’s a really interesting story.

NEW: Lots of bloody battles and naked people all the time?

EW: So you did see it.

NEW: No. But I’ve heard about it.

EW: It won a lot of awards.

NEW: Well, sure. Who doesn’t like bloody battles and naked people?

EW: You’re hopeless.

NEW: Hey, did “NCIS” win anything?

EW: Wasn’t even nominated.

NEW: Which is why I didn’t watch. If the award ain’t good enough for Leroy Jethro Gibbs, it ain’t good enough for me.

Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta.

See more of his work at www.wordsmith-at-large.com.

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