The 75th Emmy Awards set a new record in terms of audience demand for shows with the most nominations. Shows that received five or more major nominations had 20.3 times the average series demand during the eligibility period. This is a new high point and continues the trend we have been measuring going back to 2017.
The years-long streak of shows with five or more nominations having higher audience demand was broken in 2022, but this year’s record high makes 2022 look like an exception to the trend instead of a turning point. The high demand was boosted by record demand for shows that have been Emmy regulars for years, like “Better Call Saul,” “Succession” and “Barry,” all of which saw record demand for their finale seasons. Popular hits like “Ted Lasso” and “The Last of Us” also helped drive high demand for nominated shows this year.
However, looking at the shows that ultimately walked away with a trophy, there still seems to be a disconnect between the shows that have the most audience demand and the ones ultimately getting the nod from the Academy. While the latest season of “Succession” still registered the third-highest demand of Best Drama nominees, its win over “Better Call Saul” is particularly illustrative of how industry favorites still beat out popular hits on awards night.
Even though it was not necessarily a surprise (“Succession” uniquely appeals to industry insiders with its plot about a media dynasty and earned stellar reviews for its final season), its triumph over the final season of “Better Call Saul” in the Best Drama category is uniquely devastating for “Better Call Saul” fans. “Better Call Saul” walked away from the 75th Emmy Awards with 53 nominations over the course of its six seasons but exactly zero wins. Adding insult to injury, the “Breaking Bad” spinoff had the most in-demand recent season and the highest IMDb rating of all the nominees for Best Show categories.
The winners in the Limited Series and Comedy categories also show how industry favorites often win over much more broadly popular shows. “Beef” and “The Bear” were two of only four shows in the main categories that had less than 20 times the average series demand in their first 30 days during the seasons they were nominated for.
There were many other nominated series that had significantly higher demand. For example, “Ted Lasso” has proven to be a critical darling with broad popular appeal. It cleaned up at previous Emmys and its latest season had about 50x demand. However, just because a show is an insider favorite without broad appeal one year doesn’t mean that it can’t catch on with wider audiences.
Demand for the second season of “The Bear” significantly outpaced the first season. At next year’s Emmys perhaps Academy members and general audiences can both root for this show.
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