Tuned In

TV Weekend: I'm Liveblogging the Emmys. But Will Anybody Watch?

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Hurling your own snide, dyspeptic, mildly drunken comments at the TV screen is such a lot of trouble. Allow me to do it for you! Sunday evening, I’ll be at this URL, liveblogging the 2008 Emmy Awards.

And if nobody drops by to read it, I won’t blame myself, but rather Emmy’s decision to nominate low-rated shows like Mad Men, which, Brian Lowry argues in Variety, could lead to the lowest rated TV awardcast ever. (That, and the competition from football.)

Lowry gives the Academy props for recognizing shows like Mad Men, but also argues,

Whatever applause ATAS reaps, however, promises to die down once the ratings dribble in. As the Oscars have discovered, bestowing the crown to little-seen movies tends to deflate tune-in, and while modestly rated shows have triumphed before (think “Picket Fences”), having millions of viewers respond to “And the Emmy goes to” with shrugs of “Mad who?” isn’t likely to help.

I have to pick one nit: whether Mad Men wins Best Drama this year will have nothing to do with the Emmys’ ratings. It’s not like disappointed House fans can travel back in time and un-watch the awards show because a critic’s darling won instead. Rather—and I suspect this is what Lowry meant to write—the act of nominating Mad Men, and other smaller cable favorites, could have the effect that the Oscars saw when they filled up their major categories with the likes of No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood.

Of course, I could say that the point of a TV awards show is to reward the best work in TV, not the most-popular, or the most likely to win you a big rating. But, hey, I’m a dreamer. Tune in Sunday night, and watch my dreams shatter in real time!