The latest telecast of the Emmy Awards on CBS drew the second-lowest audience ever, just 11.4 million, and that is no surprise. This show could not have been more predictable, quickly devolving into a boorish hourslong festival of Trump bashing and Hillary mourning.
Awards shows used to be blockbusters for TV. But in the Age of Trump, they're becoming screaming political spectacles, like the infamous funeral/pep rally for Sen. Paul Wellstone in 2002. The red-state audience knows it's going to be a leftist hootenanny attack on conservatives all night long. Why put up with it? So they don't bother.
Naturally, the Hollywood crowd gave out Emmy awards like candy to "Saturday Night Live" for its sneering satire of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. And Kate McKinnon thanked Hillary Clinton for her alleged "grace and grit."
Jane Fonda recalled her film "9 to 5," saying, "Back in 1980 in that movie, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot." Her co-star Lily Tomlin picked up the attack, saying, "And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot."
Picking up the Emmy for best actor in a comedy series for the FX show "Atlanta," Donald Glover announced: "I want to thank Trump for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list. He's the reason I'm probably up here."
Host Stephen Colbert even compared Trump to Walter White, the murderous drug kingpin at the center of "Breaking Bad." He joked: "I thought you people loved morally compromised antiheroes. You like Walter White. He's just Walter Much Whiter."
There's another obvious reason awards shows have been slipping: who's nominated and who wins. Much like the Oscars, Emmy voters lurch toward excess, the egregiously sexy and violent and progressive/"transgressive" products. Popular shows are often rejected because, well, they're popular, which must mean they're not smart enough or they're just too formulaic and predictable.
Shows on the Big Four networks get slighted for cable networks and streaming services. Here are the top Emmy winners by network in 2017: 29 for HBO, 20 for Netflix, 15 for NBC and 10 for Hulu. By contrast, ABC won seven. Subtract NBC's nine awards for "Saturday Night Live" and it won only six. CBS got four.
The Emmy for best drama hasn't gone to a broadcast network since 2006, and in that span, voters have given four to "Mad Men" (AMC), two to "Breaking Bad" (AMC) and two to "Game of Thrones" (HBO). A top-rated show like CBS's "NCIS" doesn't get nominated for Emmys ... unless you count "outstanding stunt coordination." But Logo's drag-queen show "RuPaul's Drag Race" won three Emmys in 2017.
There's also little suspense when the same liberal favorites win Emmys over and over. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her sixth Emmy in a row for HBO's "Veep." Yawn. It doesn't matter that the ratings are tiny. Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" won for 10 years in a row. Why tune in for that? And why don't the over-rewarded liberals have the decency to let someone else get an award? Why don't they redistribute Emmys?
Hollywood loves to be ahead of the people, "educating" them along the path to progress. But it gets remarkably upset when the people refuse to follow it. The people are supposed to bend their minds agreeably as the entertainment elite sculpts the "arc of justice." A few swift kicks at the morons from the eminentoes on the Emmy stage are expected to work their magic.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.