Emmy telecast wins bigger audience, but leaves critics cold

Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:17pm EDT
 
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Even as viewership for Sunday night's Primetime Emmy Awards telecast on CBS rose for the second consecutive year, critics panned the U.S. TV industry's top honors as a dull showcase that gave its winners and nominees short shrift.

Early audience figures measured by Nielsen totaled 17.6 million viewers, a 33 percent increase from last year's ceremony, which was broadcast on Disney's ABC, CBS said on Monday.

But the telecast, which was hosted by popular "How I Met Your Mother" actor Neil Patrick Harris, found a legion of critical detractors saying the program focused too much on tributes to deceased actors and song-and-dance numbers while cutting short winners' speeches and segments on nominated shows.

"The thing I regretted about it most is that I've never seen a show that presented fewer clips from actual TV programs when they needed it more than ever," TV critic David Bianculli said.

Bianculli, who runs the Tvworthwatching.com website, added that with online-delivered shows like Netflix's "House of Cards" and premium cable networks like HBO and Showtime garnering several top nominations, fewer people are able to watch Emmy-nominated shows than in the past.

"The audience is more fragmented than ever with shows coming from more sources," he added. "The Emmys is one time that all viewers are coming under one roof ... to not have them (more clips of nominated shows) is not using time wisely."

Brian Lowry of industry publication Variety bemoaned how little time winners were given to deliver an acceptance speech to make room for tribute segments and planned musical numbers.

"Isn't the reaction of those performers - joyful, giddy, tearful, self-indulgent, whatever - one of the reasons people tune in, to see stars in unscripted moments?" Lowry wrote.   Continued...

 
Host Neil Patrick Harris performs a musical number at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake