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Emmy Has Short Coattails

The entertainment newsmagazines approach the Emmys the same way CBS handles the Masters or ABC covers the NBA Finals: They go all out.

“People who watch Access Hollywood care about the Emmys,” says Rob Silverstein, Access' executive producer. “That's a Super Bowl for us and we treat it like that.”

“I think people love the Emmys more than ever,” said Linda Bell Blue, executive producer of Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. “Our audience is very female, and I think the shows that won this year–Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty–are female-driven. Our audience is very familiar with the stars of these shows and they have a tremendous comfort level with them.”

Maybe so. But while people may love the Emmys, this year many chose instead to watch Sunday Night Football on NBC. This year's Emmycast on Fox was the lowest-rated since Nielsen introduced People Meters in 1987, scoring a 4.3 rating/11 share among adults 18-49, down from last year's 5.2/13. Only 12.95 million viewers tuned in, compared to 16.18 million viewers last year in August when the show aired three weeks earlier on NBC and did not face football.

The primetime telecast also fell short of the show's previous low-water mark in 2004, when it scored a 4.6 among adults 18-49 and 13.8 million viewers.

Even though the entertainment magazines' coverage doesn't come until the next day, the awards show's low ratings seemed to affect them. In fact, the Emmys didn't even provide a one-day bump for several of the shows.

CBS' Entertainment Tonight, the oldest of these shows with the best clearances, averaged a 4.9 rating/9 share on post-Emmy Monday for its primary runs in 55 metered markets. That's down 9% from last year but up 2% from its lead-in, the only show to gain by that measure. On Monday, Sept. 10, the show averaged a 4.6/8, a 7% increase and the biggest gain of any show.

Now in its 27th season, ET and its spinoff, The Insider, blanketed the Emmys, from host Mary Hart talking to the stars as soon as they arrived on the red carpet, to The Insider's Lara Spencer and ET's Mark Steines hosting the Fox pre-show, to Steven Cojocaru providing fashion coverage and commentary for both programs.

CBS' Inside Edition, which focuses more on news than the other magazines, stayed in second place with a 3.4/7 in 55 metered markets. That was flat year to year and down 11% from its lead-in. The prior week, Inside Edition averaged a 3.5/8, which was 3% better than its post-Emmy performance.

NBC Universal's Access Hollywood, which tries to keep its awards-show coverage light and fun, scored a 3.0/6 in 54 metered markets. Up 3%, Access was the only veteran magazine to improve over last year, although it dropped 14% from its lead-in. On the prior Monday, Access earned a 3.1/6. That also marked a 3% Monday-to-Monday dip.

In fourth place, CBS' The Insider and Warner Bros.' Extra! were dead even. Both shows earned a 2.4/5, down 11% from their lead-ins. The Insider dipped 4% from last year, while Extra! fell 14%. Week to week, The Insider was flat, while Extra! gained 4% from a 2.3/5.

“For us, the Emmys are almost like a family reunion,” says Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, Extra!'s senior executive producer. Extra! makes fashion its focus, with co-hosts Mark McGrath and Mario Lopez reading Vogue and Elle to prepare for the event, she says: “They rated every star and did their picks for best- and worst-dressed. What woman wouldn't want to have the validation of two hot guys?”

Finally, the genre's rookie, Warner Bros.' TMZ, got no help from Emmy. The show's sixth telecast dropped 10% to a 1.8/4 from its premiere-day rating of 2.0/4.