Golden Globes Grows 50% in Viewers from Last Year’s All-Time Low

The Golden Globes on CBS and Paramount+ drew an average 9.4 million total viewers on Sunday, up 50 percent from last year’s NBC telecast (6.3 million viewers). It is the show’s best number since COVID, though it is also about half that haul (18 million in January 2020).

Though the Globes were Sunday’s top primetime entertainment program, the Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins NFL game was the night’s top telecast overall.

The 81st annual Golden Globe Awards, hosted by comedian Jo Koy, aired live on CBS and streamed live on Paramount+. Both are captured in the 9.4-million number, which also includes Nielsen’s out-of-home viewing.

The show’s move from NBC to CBS — and from Monday night back to Sunday Night — is a hit, even if this particular Golden Globes was not a good show. IndieWire TV critic Ben Travers gave it a “D” grade, and called Koy’s opening monologue “nothing short of a catastrophe.”

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Jo Koy speaks onstage at the 81st Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 07: (L-R) Cillian Murphy, winner of the Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for "Oppenheimer," and Robert Downey Jr., winner of the Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture award for "Oppenheimer," pose in the press room during the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton on January 07, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

It sure was.

CBS is typically the most-watched network in America, attracting the oldest audience on broadcast. The results show up here; there are a lot of baby boomers to pull from. Last night’s success is also a testament to having films (and yes, TV shows) that people actually care about. Shoutout to “Barbie,” which entered Sunday with the most nominations (nine), though won just two awards.

Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” was the big winner last night, taking home five Golden Globes — including Best Motion Picture, Drama — from its eight nominations. Find the full list of Sunday’s winners here. The final season of HBO’s “Succession” won four Golden Globe statuettes, leading TV.

Last year’s Globes, the final on longstanding network partner NBC, suffered the smallest audience since at least 1996, when digital records replaced paper copies. (It’s not easy to pull out those paper records.) The 2023 viewer tally was down 10 percent from the previous Golden Globes Awards that aired on television. Those, on February 28, 2021, were the ones most marred by the COVID-19 pandemic (stars appeared on Zoom, it was terrible) and occurred relatively late into the new year.

The ’23 Golden Globes, hosted by Jerrod Carmichael, averaged a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49. The awards show also streamed live on Peacock, but that viewership can safely be considered pretty minimal. That show took place on a Monday instead of its usual Sunday to avoid the newly expanded NFL Regular Season schedule.

There was no Golden Globes telecast in 2022, though the Hollywood Foreign Press Association issued awards anyway. The show was put in timeout after multiple scandals involving its membership association. It came out in 2021 that there were no Black members among the entire HFPA.

Sunday’s numbers (and all the numbers since COVID) are way down from the golden days of the Golden Globes. The last normal Golden Globes, January 2020’s, drew 18 million total viewers. That can mostly be blamed on viewership fragmentation due to streaming growth, not the pandemic.

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