Sep 19, 5:23 PM EDT

Hard-working Emmy Awards host Stephen Colbert and a Sean Spicer cameo avoided a ratings slide for the ceremony



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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Hard-working Emmy Awards host Stephen Colbert and a Sean Spicer cameo helped the ceremony avoid a ratings slide but failed to significantly boost viewership.

Sunday's Emmys on CBS drew 11.38 million viewers to rank as the week's No. 6 program, according to Nielsen figures released Tuesday. That's slightly more than last year's audience of 11.3 million, which was a record low for the ceremony.

Colbert's opening song-and-dance routine and extended monologue included a number of digs at President Donald Trump and an appearance by former White House press secretary Spicer, who arrived on stage with his own lectern and drew surprised gasps from the theater crowd.

While the NBC hit drama "This Is Us" was among the nominees, the field also had a number of more niche shows such as Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale," streaming TV's first top drama winner. The increasingly splintered nature of TV is one reason the Emmys are challenged to draw a bigger audience.

The ceremony also competed with a top-ranked NFL game.

The football contest combined with two helpings of "America's Got Talent" to give NBC the lead among networks, with an average 7 million viewers last week. Fox was second with 5.7 million, followed by CBS with 5.5 million; ABC, 3.8 million; Telemundo, 1.4 million; ION and Univision with 1.3 million each, and CW with 920,000.

Among cable channels, ESPN was top-ranked last week with an average 2.8 million viewers, followed by Fox News Channel with 2.1 million, MSNBC with 1.6 million and USA with 1.5 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.34 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 8 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.8 million viewers.

For the week of Sept. 11-17, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Sunday Night Football: Green Bay at Atlanta, NBC, 20.2 million; "NFL Sunday Postgame," Fox, 13.96 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 11.59 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.57 million; "NFL Football: New Orleans at Minnesota, ESPN, 11.4 million; "Emmy Awards," CBS, 11.38 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 10.25 million; . NFL Football: L.A. Chargers at Denver, ESPN, 9.95 million; NFL Football: Houston at Cincinnati, NFLN, 8.1 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 6.8 million.

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