Daytime Emmys struggle on the CW

The ratings bar for the Daytime Emmys continues to drop as Sunday’s telecast on the CW drew easily the lowest numbers yet.

According to Nielsen prelims, the two-hour kudocast beginning at 8 p.m. ET averaged a 0.6 rating/2 share in adults 18-49 and 2.7 million viewers overall, roughly half of what it averaged in its most recent telecast, in June 2008 on ABC.

The Daytime Emmys shifted to the smaller broadcaster CW after CBS and ABC passed on airing the event, whose popularity has waned in recent years along with the daytime dramas that it honors. CW has an option to air next year’s show as well, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the event shift to cable eventually.

As recently as a few years ago, it was a kudocast that the Big Three nets took turns airing in May (albeit on the low-pressure night of Friday). The event has usually aired in late spring, with this year’s telecast marking its latest date yet.

If there was any positive in Sunday’s ratings it’s that the overall audience grew throughout, opening with 2.5 million at 8 p.m. and closing with about 2.9 million at 9:30.

Elsewhere in primetime on Sunday, NBC dominated with its NFL preseason “Sunday Night Football” contest between the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos. A rare exhibition game with meaning, due to a headline-grabbing quarterback trade between the teams in the spring, it averaged a 7.3 household rating/12 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights — the best for a preseason game on any network since a matchup between Tennessee and Dallas on ABC in 2004 (8.2/13).

In Denver, where fans were eager to see the return of Broncos-turned-Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, the game scored a whopping 25.9 rating/45 share. It did a 22.6/36 in Chicago.

In nationals, the contest is expected to draw roughly a 3.5 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and more than 10 million viewers overall, making it NBC’s biggest Sunday night since the Super Bowl.

Of note in cable prelims, Lifetime’s comedic drama “Drop Dead Diva” (3.4 million viewers overall) achieved series highs in key female demos for a third straight week.

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