This year’s Emmy Awards once again highlighted the decline of traditional network television. Having Jane Lynch host was mistake #1. Lynch is Ellen Degeneres without the charm. She is nasty and obnoxious, and makes reference to her sexuality during primetime television, which is just wonderful for the kiddies. She name-checks Rachel Maddow and talks about her “gay agenda” just to ensure her Hollywood street cred, and then rips the tea party for good measure (the usual nonsense about how we’re a bunch of racists). Not surprisingly, the ratings for the Emmys dropped this year about 8 percent from last year’s numbers — it garnered approximately 12.4 million viewers, less than the season premiere for The Big Bang Theory. Not good.
Part of that was undoubtedly due to the fact that many of the shows nominated have never been seen by anybody. Mad Men, which cleaned up, has less than 3 million regular watchers — less than half the audience of Wipeout, which, by the way, should have won every Emmy (okay, fine, give an acting award to Friday Night Lights). Friday Night Lights won a surprise best actor award for Kyle Chandler, but again, that was a show that largely failed on network TV before finding a home on an obscure cable network. The only show that won awards that actually has a large audience is Modern Family.
No doubt a lot of that is due to the fragmentation of the television audience. We all watch differently these days — I don’t even get cable, since I prefer to watch particular shows on demand. But it is also a reflection of the fact that the shows the Hollywood Left loves are not the shows the American people love, by and large. Go back ten years, and virtually every Emmy was won by a network show with good ratings (Will & Grace, The Practice, Frasier, ER, Everybody Loves Raymond, The West Wing, Ally McBeal). Now, the opposite is true. None of which is to say that Mad Men and Friday Night Lights are bad shows — in fact, they’re both great. It’s just to say that the tastes of those of us on the coasts are not the tastes of those of us across the rest of the country. And the Emmys once again proved this disconnect.