Stephen Colbert probably knew that the Emmys he was hosting wasn’t going to do well with Nielsen ratings. The Emmys have been posting consistently lower ratings for years now—2016 was an all-time nadir, and there was no reason to think this one was going to do better.
Maybe that’s why Colbert got Sean Spicer to make a cameo at the beginning of the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, and joke that “this will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys.” Because he knew, like most other things that Spicer has said at a podium, it would be a lie.
And it was a lie, because as EW reports, the 69th Emmys had the same ratings as the 68th, with 11.38 million viewers. In other words, it tied for the smallest audience to ever witness an Emmys. That number was dwarfed by the viewership for the NFL, which comprised over 18 million people.
Then again, it’s more likely that Colbert just saw this as an opportunity for a joke, and took it without thinking about how he was normalizing the former mouthpiece of a bigoted fascist ideologue.
Find the full list of Emmy winners here, and our breakdown of the night’s highlights and lowlights here.