This Year’s Golden Globes Were a Ratings Disaster

Viewers being stuck at home didn’t help the hybrid awards show from seeing a major slump

In 2018, NBC signed a $60 million-a-year deal to air the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards for at least the subsequent eight years. After the lackluster performance of this year’s ceremony, it seems the network’s buckets of money might have been better spent elsewhere.

Even though the pandemic still has many people cooped up at home, Sunday night’s broadcast drew 6.9 million viewers and had a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen numbers reported by Deadline, a dramatic drop from the 18.3 million viewers the show scored just a year earlier when Ricky Gervais hosted.

Besides the not-ideal hybrid presentation—which turned out to be as glitchy and awkward as expected—a pall was cast over this year’s ceremony by a pair of L.A. Times reports about the HFPA, including an investigation that revealed the organization hasn’t had a Black member for 20 years and another that accused voting members of accepting lavish trips to France courtesy of the nominated (and widely panned) Netflix series Emily in Paris.

On top of that, the show typically airs in early January and is preceded by a late-season NFL game, which results in at least some viewers sticking around. There’s also the fact that the pandemic accelerated cord cutting in the U.S., meaning fewer households even have access to live network television.

Of course, the slump was probably predictable based solely on the recent performance of other big, televised events. The Emmys virtual award ceremony in September 2020 saw its worst ratings ever, with a dismal 6.1 million viewers. Even the Super Bowl hit a 15-year low this year—although “low” for the Super Bowl still meant 96.4 million people tuned in to watch Tom Brady grow his collection of championship rings.

RELATED: How the Golden Globes Addressed the Total Lack of Black HFPA Members

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