|Billy Crystal paid tribute to the late Robin Williams.|
The 15.6 million viewers is the second biggest overall audience for the Emmys since 2006, trailing over that span only the 17.8 million for last year's telecast, which benefited from Sunday scheduling, a September airdate and a high-rated NFL lead-in. Excluding those 2013 results, this is the top Emmys in total viewers since the Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006 telecast on NBC averaged 16.2 million viewers.
In adults 18-49, the 4.2 rating matches the second highest since the 2007 coverage on Fox averaged a 4.3 on Sunday, Sept. 16, trailing over that span only last year’s 4.9 on CBS and tying 4.2s in 2009 and 2011.
The 15.6 million makes this the most-watched night on any network since ABC’s Academy Awards on March 2 (35.2 million).
The Emmys topped the combined Big 4 competition in primetime, with a 4.2 rating edging the combined 4.1 of Fox (1.8), ABC (1.2) and CBS (1.1), while the 15.6 million in total viewers beat the combined total of 13.8 million for CBS (5.0 million), Fox (4.6 million) and ABC (4.2 million).
The Monday telecast finished within 12% of last year's NFL-boosted coverage on CBS in total viewers (15.594 million vs. 17.757 million) and within 14% in 18-49 rating (4.2 vs. 4.9).
Versus the last Emmys to not follow an NFL lead-in, the Sept. 23, 2012 telecast on ABC, this year’s coverage was up +18% in total viewers (15.594 million vs. 13.255 million) and up +8% in 18-49 (4.2 vs. 3.9).
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards attracted NBC's biggest total-viewer result in the Monday 8-11 p.m. ET time period (15.6 million), excluding Olympics, in more than two years (since The Voice regular-slot season premiere boosted NBC to 15.7 million on Feb. 6, 2012). In 18-49,the 4.2 rating matches NBC’s highest for a non-Olympic Monday since Sept. 23, 2013 (when The Voice and The Blacklist debuts averaged a 4.7).
The Emmys were televised live to all time zones, and some western markets also carried an encore telecast immediately following the live coverage.