Interest in ABC’s ‘Abbott Elementary’ Boosted by Emmy Wins – and Controversy | Chart

“Abbott Elementary” won big at the Emmys earlier this month — and its winning streak didn’t stop there.

The ABC comedy series, created by and starring Quinta Brunson, saw a significant increase in fan interest following its Emmy wins, according to Whip Media data from TV Time, a TV and movie app that tracks viewer interest across 22 million global registered users.

In the seven days after the Emmys, “Abbott Elementary’s” followers on TV Time surged 10.3%. Those gains were due in large part to the spike the comedy received on Sept. 13 — the day following the Emmys telecast — when the show had a nearly six-fold increase in followers day-over-day.

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Another way to look at it: The Emmy win led to a bigger spike in interest for the show than its Season 1 premiere last December and its Emmy nominations in July combined.

How does that interest translate ratings-wise? According to live plus same-day Nielsen data, the Season 2 premiere episode of “Abbott Elementary” saw a nearly 2% increase in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and a 4% increase in total viewers compared to the Season 1 averages.

Clearly, its big night at the Emmys helped drive fan interest. Brunson won the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on the show’s pilot episode and Sheryl Lee Ralph won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as an old-school kindergarten teacher.

Emmys momentum for Winners, September 2022 (Whip Media)
Emmys momentum for Winners, September 2022 (Whip Media)

Ralph then proceeded to steal the show with her acceptance speech, starting with a rendition of Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species.” She then delivered a touching speech that brought the audience to its feet.

“To anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream wouldn’t come true, I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like,” Ralph said. “This is what striving looks like. And don’t you ever, ever give up on you.”

And sure, the normal press attention that comes with winning a couple Emmys helped the show. But “Abbott Elementary” was at the center of perhaps the biggest story of the night, with many slamming host Jimmy Kimmel for overshadowing Brunson’s win with a bit. If you missed it, the bit had Will Arnett dragging Kimmel’s “dead body” across the Emmy stage. Kimmel then laid there motionless for the entirety of Arnett’s announcement of the nominees — and as Brunson made her way to the stage and eventually gave her speech.

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Kimmel, after being ripped by many for the segment, apologized to Brunson the next night on his show and invited her on to give a full acceptance speech. That controversy only drew more attention to “Abbott Elementary” — helping to offset the award show’s all-time low ratings. From ABC’s standpoint, the timing couldn’t have been better, either, with the new season of “Abbott Elementary” premiering on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

And while “Abbott Elementary” had the biggest post-Emmys follower increase, it wasn’t the only show of the night to get a bump.

HBO’s “The White Lotus” was the biggest award winner of the night, netting 10 awards altogether, including Jennifer Coolidge earning the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.

“The White Lotus” saw its follower count increase nearly 6% in the week after the Emmys. That proceeded a modest boost heading into the show, too, of 1.4% week-over-week.

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Hulu’s “The Dropout,” meanwhile, had a 3.9% increase in followers after the Emmys, landing it in the third spot overall. Star Amanda Seyfried won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie award for her portrayal of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

Other big name shows, including “Succession” and “Ted Lasso,” also had more interest. “Ted Lasso” was in a similar position to “Abbott Elementary” a year ago, too, when it had a 4.2% increase in fan interest on TV Time immediately following the Emmys. And HBO’s “Hacks,” which had the biggest post-Emmys jump in interest last year, slightly edged out “Abbott Elementary” with a 10.9% follower increase in the days after the awards show.

Again, there’s been a conspicuous ratings drop-off in the last few years for the Emmys — but the shows that get the limelight still end up seeing a noticeable benefit in the aftermath.

Sean Burch is a marketing insights analyst at Whip Media, a WrapPRO partner. Click here for more from Whip Media.

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