Hampered by Zoom glitches, obscure nominees, and a total absence of both the fashion red carpet and Ricky Gervais, the 78th annual Golden Globes appears headed for a ratings fiasco, with early viewership figures reportedly plummeting by more than half from last year’s show.
NBC’s broadcast of the Golden Globes on Sunday averaged a paltry 5.42 million viewers and a 1.2 rating in the coveted advertising demographic of adults age 18 to 49, down more than 60 percent each from 14.76 million viewers and a 3.8 rating last year.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that the final figures will likely rise but will almost certainly not be enough to rescue the show from a ratings catastrophe.
This year’s Golden Globes ceremony was the first since the Chinese coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on Hollywood, forcing studios to postpone major releases and shift their distribution toward digital streaming. As a result, the nominees were dominated by little-seen indie movie titles as well as Netflix and Amazon Studios releases.
— NBC Entertainment (@nbc) March 1, 2021
While Ricky Gervais injected a welcome note of irreverence in past broadcasts, Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler made a point of spotlighting diversity as they hosted the show from opposite coasts. The Globes faced criticism this year following a report that the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. doesn’t have any black voters among its 87 members.
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) March 1, 2021
Celebrities including Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Ruffalo further alienated viewers by delivering political lectures during their acceptance speeches, despite Fey’s promise that the show would avoid politics.
Producers also canceled the fashion red carpet, which in normal years serves as a reliable pre-show audience draw.
Hollywood awards shows have seen their ratings drop for years as viewers tired of political lectures continue to tune out. The broadcasts have also suffered from consumer cord cutting, which Breitbart News reported hit record highs in 2020.