LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Emmy Awards have plummeted to a new all-time ratings low, with grand farewells for Game Of Thrones and Veep plus a night of surprise winners failing to entice viewers.

The show was watched by just 6.9 million American viewers on Sunday (Sept 22), broadcaster Fox said – down from the already record-low 10.2 million last year.

Viewers watching the Emmys, television’s answer to the Oscars, have halved since 2014.

The show rotates between the four major US networks.

Fox, Sunday’s broadcaster, hoped to emulate the Oscars’ ratings bump by also going without a host.

But it could not reverse the trend of successive years of new lows, as fragmented audiences increasingly shun awards shows.

Variety slammed the show as a “wildly confusing mess of conflicting ideas” which proved that “skipping out on a host doesn’t automatically make for a sleeker broadcast”.

Deadline wrote: “In an age of tired and ratings-declining awards shows, the Emmys needed to slay on Fox tonight. Instead, the whole thing came tumbling down.”

The show, shifting from Monday last year to Sunday, also suffered from competing with a prime-time NFL clash.

However, there was widespread praise for the Television Academy’s chosen winners on the night, with Fleabag and its creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge springing the biggest of several warmly-received surprises.