NEW YORK – The pandemic-era Golden Globes sunk to 6.9 million viewers, down a whopping 64% from 2020 and only barely beating the year when a writer's strike forced NBC to show a news conference announcing the winners.
Last year's show, in the pre-lockdown era, reached 18.4 million viewers, the Nielsen company said.
Big winners in Sunday's ceremony were the films “Nomadland” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and the television programs “The Crown” and “The Queen's Gambit.”
The writer's strike curtailed the Globes in 2008 and only 6 million people watched the news conference. Otherwise, this year's show had by far the smallest audience since NBC began telecasting the awards in 1996.
NBC anticipated a ratings bloodbath, the only question was how much. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler co-hosted, but on separate coasts: Poehler in the show's traditional home of the Beverly Hilton and Fey in New York's Rainbow Room.
For a country sick of Zoom meetings, most of the nominees appeared remotely and there was no red carpet. Some stars dressed for the occasion, others didn't bother. “Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis wore a sweatshirt for his acceptance speech.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which runs the Golden Globes, was reeling from an investigation by The Los Angeles Times that revealed ethical lapses and the news that the organization had no Black members who voted on winners.
Nominated films also suffered from a severe lack of buzz, in large part because theaters were largely closed. Since film buffs had to navigate a soup of streaming services to keep up with what was going on, there was no runaway success to entice viewers.
The shuddering sound you hear at the ratings news is coming from ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which puts on the Oscars. The Academy Awards in 2020 reached a record low 23.6 million viewers, and that was also pre-lockdown.
The Oscars will be held on April 25, giving organizers hope that with more people vaccinated against COVID, it might have more in-person elements.
CBS was the most-watched network in prime time last week, averaging 4.5 million viewers. ABC had 3.9 million, NBC had 3.4 million, Fox had 2.3 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Ion Television had 1.2 million and Telemundo had 1 million.
Fox News Channel topped the cable networks, averaging 2.46 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 1.9 million, CNN had 1.28 million, HGTV had 1.11 million and ESPN had 1.07 million.
By far the most-watched cable program last week was Fox News' coverage of former President Donald Trump's speech at CPAC, with 5.74 million viewers.
Other cable news networks had superlatives: MSNBC came in first in all-day ratings for the first time in its history in February, and CNN had its best February ratings ever.
ABC's “World News Tonight" won the evening news ratings race, averaging 9.5 million viewers last week. NBC's “Nightly News” had 7.6 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.8 million.
For the week of Feb. 22-28, the top 20 prime time programs, their networks and viewerships:
1. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.13 million.
2. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 7.87 million.
3. “The Equalizer,” CBS, 7.78 million.
4. “Golden Globe Awards,” NBC, 6.91 million.
5. “911,” Fox, 6.74 million.
6. “American Idol,” ABC, 6.61 million.
7. “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” ABC, 5.933 million.
8. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 5.928 million.
9. "America's Funniest Home Videos, 5.84 million.
10. "NCIS: Los Angeles, 5.83 million.
11. "Bob Hearts Abishola, CBS, 5.56 million.
12. “NCIS,” CBS, 5.47 million.
13. “The Bachelor,” ABC, 5.45 million.
14. “911: Lone Star,” Fox, 5.37 million.
15. “B Positive,” CBS, 5.19 million.
16. “Mom,” CBS, 5.18 million.
17. “Bull,” CBS, 5.112 million.
18. “This is Us,” NBC, 5.11 million.
19. “FBI,” CBS, 5.04 million.
20. “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 5.03 million.