Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 10:38 UK

Emmy awards hits TV ratings low

Glenn Close
Glenn Close won the Emmy for best actress in a drama

The Emmy Awards had one of its smallest TV audiences in the show's history, early figures suggest.

According to Nielsen Media Research, 12.2 million people watched Sunday's three-hour show, falling just below the previous low 12.3 million of 1990.

The Emmys was broadcast against an American football game and current affairs show 60 Minutes with interviews with John McCain and Barack Obama.

Thirteen million viewers tuned in for the ceremony last year.

Organisers had tried to appeal to younger viewers by using reality TV hosts including Ryan Seacrest and Heidi Klum as emcees for the night, but the show was roundly panned by critics.

The broadcast was looking like it was going to over-run so presenters and winners were forced to rush through introductions and speeches.

"It was hideously awful from start to harried finish, dragged down by five amateurish reality anchors who would have been unwelcome as guests, let alone hosts," newspaper USA Today wrote.

Final national ratings for the broadcast are due later on Tuesday.

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