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Longest-Ever Emmy Show Ranks as Lowest Rated

September 21, 1987|From Associated Press

The Emmy Awards show Sunday night set two records: Its four-hour length was the longest in Emmy history, just 20 seconds shy of qualifying as a miniseries, and its audience rating was the lowest ever.

The 39th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards show, which turned into an unstoppable "talkathon" as presenters and winners gabbed like there was no tomorrow, was the first in more than three decades that was not telecast on ABC, CBS or NBC. It was carried by the Fox Broadcasting Co., which outbid the three networks for the show for the next three years.

The show got a 10.3 rating and a 17 share in the A.C. Nielsen Co. 15-city overnight ratings. If the rating stays the same in the nationals, the Emmy show will rank about 45th from the top. It did win over ABC, which got an 8.8 rating, but lost out to CBS with 17.7 and NBC with 16.18.

ABC countered the Emmy telecast with "Spenser: For Hire" and the movie "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." CBS showed "Murder, She Wrote" and the film "Micki and Maude," while NBC ran "Family Ties," "My Two Dads" and the movie "The Highwayman."

Fox had hoped that something memorable might be uttered by not placing a time limit on the presenters or winners. But that simply was not the case. Many simply rambled on, thanking everyone they have ever known. But cinematographer Phil Lathrop, a winner in the miniseries or special category for NBC's "Christmas Snow," simply said, "This is the shortest speech," and walked off.

Emmy winners, Page 8.

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