Golden Globes pull 9.4 million viewers on CBS, up 50% from last year

A new owner and TV network for the Golden Globe Awards may have helped stop the ratings tailspin for the troubled trophy show.

The Sunday telecast on CBS drew 9.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen data, a 50% increase over 2023, when it aired on NBC. The event from the Beverly Hilton hotel was streamed on Paramount + as well.

Viewership of the Golden Globes is still down substantially from 2019, when an average of 19 million viewers tuned in, although all award shows have seen their ratings shrivel as streaming video has become the preferred platform for viewers in recent years.

But the ratings jump this year is good news for billionaire investor Todd Boehley, who acquired the Globes last year. The franchise was in tatters following a 2021 Times investigation that exposed a lack of diversity in its membership and raised concerns about its ethics and financial practices.

CBS had a one-year agreement to carry the telecast, signed less than two months before airtime. It has an exclusive negotiating window for 2025, but the new Globes owners are free to shop it to another outlet after that period.

While the Globes had the benefit of an NFL audience lead-in from CBS, it had to compete with a significant football game on NBC as well, with the Buffalo Bills beating the Miami Dolphins to win the Eastern Division of the American Football Conference.

Last year’s Globes aired on a Tuesday night without the benefit of relentless promotion on high rated programming all day.

The big Globes winners of the night included “Oppenheimer,” which earned five awards including best motion picture drama. HBO’s “Succession” scored four trophies, including best TV drama. The FX hit “The Bear” was honored three times, including for best television series, musical or comedy.

The post-scandal awards were revamped, with a more ethnically and culturally diverse panel of 300 journalists from 75 countries historically voting on the winners.

The new ownership entity Golden Globes Assn. — which also pays 75 employees to screen entries and vote on them — has implemented a code of conduct and restrictions around receiving gifts.

But the program itself still faced systemic challenges in the television landscape, where more than half of all viewing is now on streaming platforms.

The turnout of A-list stars was an indication that egos, trophies and money will keep even a tainted Hollywood institution alive, especially one that’s been around for 81 years.

The event, however, was panned by critics, especially when it came to host Jo Koy, a comic with a strong following (and a Netflix deal, as he reminded the audience), but not the kind of name recognition that can drive viewers to tune in.

Host Jo Koy during the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards

This image released by CBS shows host Jo Koy during the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.

(Sonja Flemming / CBS via AP)

The harsh reaction to his at times crude monologue demonstrates why many comedians are shunning award show hosting gigs. Koy’s gag about how TV cameras hone in on Taylor Swift when she watches Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce during NFL games drew an icy look from the pop superstar and social media scorn from her global following.

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