Donald Trump, a former reality TV star, seems to be toasting the demise of an awards show he once attended on the regular. Just 11 years ago, Trump was on the Emmys singing a Green Acres parody and stealing the show. Fast forward to his presidency, and he's still providing much of the laughs — just this time in absentia. Host Stephen Colbert targeted the president as the butt of jokes throughout the evening, and in retaliation, Trump attacked the Emmys' "worst ever" ratings on Twitter Tuesday night, even thought they were actually up ever so slightly.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday: "I was saddened to see how bad the ratings were on the Emmys last night — the worst ever. Smartest people of them all are the "DEPLORABLES." One, the Emmys were Sunday night, not Monday. And two, what exactly he means here is unclear. Perhaps it's that his supporters, who Hillary Clinton famously called "deplorables," chose not to tune in. Perhaps they tuned into NBC's Sunday Night Football instead and are therefore the "smartest people of them all. Either that or he's calling the Emmys' attendees deplorable.
Either way, the funniest part of Trump deciding to insult the Emmys by attacking their ratings is that one of the biggest jokes of the night on Sunday was all about crowd size. Colbert brought former Press Secretary Sean Spicer out onto the stage — complete with podium — to promise a good-sized audience. "This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, both in person and in the world. Period," Spicer joked.
It wasn't — unless you use Trump's Inauguration crowd metrics. This year 11.4 million people turned in, up slightly from 11.3 in 2016. One key difference that some are pointing out is that in certain parts of the country, namely Texas and Florida, hurricane recovery may have kept people away from the TV. Major markets in Florida weren't even counted in the tally thanks to Irma. It wasn't great though. In 2013, 17.7 million people tuned in, the highest number in the last decade.
The Spicer gag wasn't the only joke at Trump's expense. Colbert acknowledged the love the president has for the tube, even if Fox & Friends wasn't recognized this year. "What a year it’s been for television. Over 450 shows have been made this year,” Colbert joked. “Of course, there’s no way anyone could watch that much TV, except for our president."
The president's relationship with the Emmys got a shoutout too. "We all know the Emmys mean a lot for Donald Trump, because he was nominated multiple times for Celebrity Apprentice,” Colbert told the audience of Emmy voters. “Why didn’t you give him an Emmy? If he had won an Emmy, none of this would have happened." Alec Baldwin, who did win, went on to joke that the president had finally won one (Baldwin won for his portrayal of Trump on Saturday Night Live).
One media critic, Philip Bump, wrote for The Washington Post that "the decline in Emmys viewership that really began in 2007 or so was not a function of DEPLORABLES tuning out because of Donald Trump." Rather he pointed to trends in the industry, more than anything the added choice that increased cable offerings, and now the Netflixes of the Internet, offer as competition. "It was a function, in part, of larger trends rippling through the entertainment industry," Bump argued.
As for Trump's Green Gables parody, that's really something you should go to the extra effort and tune in for. He carries a pitchfork and sings alongside Megan Mullally. I'd say the Emmys needs more of that, except you never know who you're catapulting towards the presidency.