The preliminary figures do not reflect viewing on the U.S. West Coast, but they nevertheless reflect a drop of about 60 per cent from early audience estimates for the 2020 show. (Ratings for Canada have not yet been released.)
The numbers from the West Coast will be included in the final same-day tally released Tuesday morning, and will probably increase the total, but they’ll still be drastically lower than any recent Golden Globes ratings.
The last comparable ratings date back 13 years to 2008, when a writers’ strike led to the outright cancellation of the ceremony; a press conference was televised instead, bringing in a paltry six million viewers.
NBC has yet to release any figures and did not return a request for comment.
In 2020, 18.3 million Americans, the smallest audience in eight years, watched the Golden Globes ceremony on television, according to final Nielsen data.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Sunday’s show, hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, was a mostly virtual affair with no red carpet and with celebrities taking part via video links from their homes and other locations.
It was also overshadowed by a controversy over the lack of Black members within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which decides on the winners. Members of the HFPA appeared briefly on stage and pledged to do better.
Drama Nomadland and comedy Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won the top prizes on Sunday.
Reviewers slammed the show, which usually takes place as a boozy gala dinner in Beverly Hills and is one of the more popular awards telecasts.
Variety called it “a lazy, clueless ceremony that likely convinced many viewers to change the channel.”
Britain’s Daily Telegraph described it as a “shambolic hellscape of Zoom ineptitude” that it said boded ill for the Oscars in April.
In one of the less harsh reviews, Entertainment Weekly said broadcasters “made a valiant (if not always successful) effort to deliver some awards show glamour.”
Award shows in general are losing their lustre, with viewership dropping across the board.
— with files from Chris Jancelewicz