AFC championship moved up against Globes telecast

Dick Clark may very well be a football fan, but he won’t be pining for pigskin on Jan. 19.

On that night, for the first time, the annual Golden Globe Awards telecast on NBC — which has been picking up ratings steam in recent years — will go head to head with one of pro football’s biggest games of the year on CBS.

The National Football League’s decision to move the AFC championship game to primetime (a 6:30 p.m. start in the East) means its finish will overlap in most of the country with the first half of the 60th annual Globes. Kudocast, from Dick Clark Prods., kicks off at 8 p.m. and originates once again from the BevHilton.

“There’s nothing we can do but put on the greatest show we can,” says Barry Adelman, who exec produces the Globes with Clark. “It may or not be a good football game, but we can guarantee it will be a good Golden Globes.”

Most industry observers believe there is room for both on the night, with some pointing to the similarity between this year’s show and the 2001 Emmy Awards telecast on CBS, which was twice-delayed and ended up airing opposite a thrilling Game 7 of the World Series on Fox. The Emmys took a hit, but still produced strong ratings.

“It’s not a positive development for either (the NFL or Globes),” says John Rash, a media buyer with Campbell Mithun in Chicago, “but they’re each vying for a different constituency, so the night can remain a unique platform for both.

“The Globes, thanks I think to NBC and the show’s fan-friendly format, have really vaulted to the second most prestigious film and TV awards program.”

Gaining stature

Indeed, Nielsen figures for 2002 show NBC’s Globes telecast (23.5 million viewers) moving ahead of CBS’ Grammy Awards (19 million) to rank as the No. 2 kudocast of the year, behind the Academy Awards on ABC (41.8 million). As recently as eight years ago, it was attracting fewer than 4 million viewers on cabler TBS.

It’s also a big draw among the key advertiser demo of adults 18-49, with its 9.5 rating higher last year than the Grammys (9.0) and Emmys (8.1). And an even more detailed look at the young adults who watch the show reveals that the aud is much more likely than the average TV viewer to earn $75,000 or more annually and to have completed four or more years of college.

“Any way you cut it, it’s a good buy from where we sit,” Rash says, adding that especially with football in the mix, the most advantageous spots for advertisers remain in the second half of the three-hour show.

The event continues to provide NBC with a significant promotional platform, especially as it comes halfway through the season and about 10 days before the start of the February sweep.

No wonder, then, that the Peacock and the HFPA last year reupped for a 10-year, $30 million pact.

Promotional tool

Jeff Gaspin, exec VP of alternative series and specials for the Peacock, says it’s one of the net’s biggest annual events.

“It’s a huge promotional opportunity for us at an important time of year,” says Gaspin. “The combination of film and TV makes for a great audience, and one that tends to like watching television.

“So you’re promoting to your fans, which is great, but it also gives your brand and your shows exposures to viewers of other networks.”

NBC is having a strong season, so it doesn’t need much help hyping its existing shows. Instead, look for plenty of spots for series joining the Peacock sked in January and February, such as reality entry “Meet My Folks,” drama “Mister Sterling” and comedy “AUSA.”

As for this year’s production, exec producer Adelman says the goal is to give the viewers more of what they want — and more of what makes the Globes unique: close-ups of the stars, fewer clips packages and a party-like atmosphere.

“We always look for subtle ways to present the party atmosphere to the public,” he says, “whether that’s through camera angles, off-the-cuff interviews with winners and presenters, or other special segments.

“We want the people at home to feel like they’re eavesdropping at an exclusive party.”

And, once again, the shindig will be host-free.

“It just seems to move quicker that way,” Adelman says. “This show is hosted by Hollywood.”

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