And the Winner Is ...

Rash Report: If the Emmys Were the 'Demmys,' These Would Be the Winners

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Emmy nominations were announced this morning. But the "Demmy Awards," better known as the ratings race in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic, already has its winners. The Rash Report weighs in on the key categories:

Fox's 'House' wins in households and just about every other demographic distinction.
Fox's 'House' wins in households and just about every other demographic distinction. Credit: Fox
Best Drama Series
Nominees: "Big Love," HBO; "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men," AMC; "Damages," FX; "Dexter," Showtime; "House," Fox

And the Emmy goes to ... "Mad Men," the type of program Emmy voters hope shows the way back to crisp scripted series.

And should go to ... "Mad Men," the best show on TV. (Although it's too bad the ad industry has to look backwards, not forward, to the glory days.)

And the "Demmy" goes to ... Fox's "House" wins in households and just about every other demographic distinction, including adults 18-49, in which it averaged a 5.2/14 rating and share for original episodes last season. "Lost" found itself in second with a 4.4/11, while the cable dramas had dramatically smaller audiences: "Big Love," .7/2; "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad" and "Weeds," .5/1; and "Flight of the Conchords," .4/1. (Note on all cable ratings: Multiple airings bring total viewership significantly higher. These numbers reflect one airing in the show's main time slot.)

Best Comedy Series
Nominees: "Family Guy," Fox; "30 Rock" and "The Office," NBC; "Weeds," Showtime; "How I Met Your Mother," CBS; "Flight of the Conchords" and "Entourage," HBO

And the Emmy goes to ... "How I Met Your Mother," representing the type of cultural and commercial comic breakthrough the industry needs.

But it should go to ... "30 Rock." Yeah, it won last year, and the 22 nods this year are a bit much. But any show bold enough to transpose "Amadeus's" Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) going mad over the musical genius of Mozart (Tom Hulce) to one in which Frank (Judah Friedlander) goes mad over the Tracy's (Tracy Morgan) ability to develop pornographic video games is working on a different level.

Rash chart July 15, 2009Click for PDF
See how all the shows did in the ratings.

And the "Demmy" goes to ... Tapping into the inanity and insanity of cubicle culture (and scoring with a post-Super Bowl slot) "The Office" averaged a 4.3/11, followed closely by "Mother's" 4.1/10 and "Family Guy's" 4.0/9. "The Office's" co-worker (or lead-out, in TV terms), "30 Rock," had a 3.3/8, while cable comedies "Entourage" (1.1/3), "Weeds" (.5/1) and "Conchords" (.41) followed.

Best Reality Show Competition
Nominees: "The Amazing Race," CBS; "Dancing with the Stars," ABC; "Project Runway" and "Top Chef," Bravo

And the Emmy goes to ..."Dancing With the Stars," which did the near impossible: Make ballroom dancing culturally cool.

But should go to ... "Project Runway" and "Top Chef," for giving the reality genre, long dominated by broadcast, some cultural cache on cable.

And the "Demmy" goes to ... The much-maligned "Idol," which wins when it really counts -- with audiences and advertisers. Tuesday's version averaged a 9.1/24, while Wednesday hit a high note of 9.2/24. "Dancing's" performance show averaged a 4.9/13, but unlike "Idol," the results had lower ratings results of a 3.6/9. "Amazing Race" averaged a 3.1/8, followed by "Top Chef" (1.4/4) and "Project Runway" (1.1/3).

Best Variety, Music or Comedy Series
Nominees: "The Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," Comedy Central; "The Late Show With David Letterman," CBS; "Real Time With Bill Maher," HBO; "Saturday Night Live," NBC

And the Emmy goes to ... The strongest overall category, with the cultural commonality of incisive political commentary. The consistency of "The Daily Show" will lead it to victory.

But should go to ... "SNL," which not only reflected the news narrative, but became it, especially with Tina Fey as a dead-on doppelganger of Sarah Palin.

And the "Demmy" goes to ...

In a landslide, "SNL" (3.4/13), followed by "Letterman" (1.0/4), "The Daily Show" (.8/3), "Colbert" (.6/3) and "Real Time" (.3/1).

Wednesday's ratings race: Oh yeah, that. Nothing that ran was nominated, and for good reason. But what isn't connecting with cultural critics is working commercially, at least by summer standards, as Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" led to Fox finishing first with a 2.6/9, followed by ABC and NBC, which tied with a 1.9/6, led by their summer hits, "Wipeout" on ABC (2.6/10) and "America's Got Talent" on NBC (3.0/9). Rerun-resplendent CBS (1.5/5) and the CW (.4/1) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Thursday: With Wednesday's release of the latest Harry Potter movie, ABC profiles prolific J.K. Rowling, the author of the series' six books.
Friday: Rarer than a summer cold front, three networks have original programming at 8 p.m. on a July Friday night: ABC's 'Surviving Suburbia" and "The Goode Family," Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" and NBC's "Chopping Block."

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
A future "Family Guy" episode mocking the show's Emmy nomination.

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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)

John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. For more, see rashreport.com.

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