Sunday night’s Primetime Emmys ceremony featured a number of moments that were both historic (think Billy Porter becoming the first openly gay winner of an Outstanding Lead Actor award) and shocking (like Fleabag snagging the bulk of the comedy awards, disrupting Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ long-running streak). It was also the first year that the Emmys chose not to appoint a host, leading to rushed, kind of mechanical transitions and odd methods of burning time. (Was a memorial for only a handful of wrapped shows terribly necessary?) The move to ditch a host might not have played to the network’s favor: Per Variety, this year’s Emmy Awards saw a 33% decline in ratings—roughly 6.9 million viewers—which is a record low for the program. Maybe not having a central figure to drum up interest and set the overall tone might have been detrimental in the long run, even if it did recently work for the Oscars.
This year’s ceremony, which aired on Fox, did also have the disadvantage of going up against Sunday Night Football. It’s an obstacle that last year’s Monday night ceremony didn’t have to contend with (even though last year’s Emmys were the worst rated, up until about 24 hours ago). The lack of enthusiasm could also have to do with awards show fatigue, in general. Watching a room full of privileged celebrities congratulate themselves for three hours doesn’t exactly ring like a fun time. But it is great to see genuinely bright talents like Jharrel Jerome of When They See Us and Phoebe Waller-Bridge get the recognition they deserve. Maybe now that some of the Emmy darlings have ended, fresh properties can continue to shake up the Academy in time for next year’s show. And for heaven’s sake, find a damn host.