LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The primetime Emmy awards telecast on Sunday night was watched by 13.5 million U.S. viewers, up slightly from a total audience of 13.3 million that tuned-in one year ago for U.S. television's top honors.
The show, which aired on the NBC network, was hosted by Jimmy Fallon and was advanced roughly one month to August from mid-September, when it traditionally has been broadcast, to avoid competition with popular football broadcasts.
Last year, for instance, a football game that aired opposite the Emmys had about 65 percent more viewers than the awards show.
Also for the first time, the primetime Emmys aired live in all time zones across the United States, as compared to previous tape-delayed broadcasts on the west coast, which meant it aired outside primetime in heavily populated California.
While the 2009 Emmys featured big wins from existing shows such as "Mad Men" and "30 Rock," this year's show saw the infusion of new programs including "Glee," "Modern Family" and "The Good Wife."
Although last night, "Mad Men" won best drama for the third straight year, "Modern Family" swooped in to take home the best comedy series.
Sunday's viewership was the best since 2006, when 16.1 million tuned in. It was also over a million more viewers than the telecast's lowest ever 12.2 million in 2008, according to figures from media research company Nielsen.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte