This Year's Golden Globes Ceremony Couldn't Even Attract 7 Million Viewers

Another year, another Golden Globes ceremony in the books. But considering the unique combination of multiple controversies roiling within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the organization responsible for the show) and the fact that the ratings for this past weekend’s broadcast were absolutely abysmal, maybe it’s time to put this particular awards show out to pasture.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Nielsen numbers contained a stunning revelation about the most recent awards show: only 6.9 million people tuned in to watch the ceremony this past Sunday night, which marks the worst Golden Globes ratings since the show moved to NBC in 1996. For comparison’s sake, last year’s Golden Globes pulled in 18.4 million viewers, which was good enough to make it one of the year’s “most-watched nonsports programs”.

Of course, NBC and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association aren’t entirely to blame here: the pandemic was the biggest domino to fall and almost certainly had a ripple effect in which a significant number of Americans likely did not seek out many of the movies that were up for awards this year. Theaters being closed hasn’t helped much with awareness: Nomadland, which won best drama and best director for Chloé Zhao on Sunday night, has made just over $1 million at the box office thus far and only recently debuted on Hulu. And of course, the Globes’ whole vibe has been an off-the-cuff kind of show where people can tune in and watch celebrities get drunk and interact with each other in a looser environment than the Oscars. But a virtual, Zoom-heavy ceremony didn’t have the same appeal.

Still, this may be an opportunity for NBC to rethink its relationship with this show. The HFPA has been a laughing stock for years, and there are serious, systemic problems within that organization that have recently been exposed yet again by major news outlets. I’ve seen lots of talk about how the Globes can and should either be revamped from the ground up or abandoned altogether in favor of a different show – perhaps one whose membership features a diverse group of professionals who are actually required to publish more than six pieces in an entire year and who aren’t engaged in blatant payola. Just a thought!

Last year’s Academy Awards, which experienced an all-time low in viewership numbers, managed to pull in 23.6 million viewers. But some of the factors that contributed to the Globes’ atrocious showing will certainly apply to this year’s Oscars broadcast in April as well – the question isn’t “will the ratings fall?”, it’s “how much will they fall?”

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