Nearly 17 million likely; pigskin push lifts Fox comedies

The Golden Globes telecast seems to have settled into a nice ratings range, with Sunday’s show — again hosted by Ricky Gervais — nearly matching the ceremony’s year-ago perf with about 17 million viewers.

It’s a solid showing considering that the novelty of Gervais as host may have worn off and that host network NBC has struggled to attract an audience for anything but football. Also, the kudocast mostly celebrated little-watched movies and television shows like “The Descendants” and “Episodes” — though the number of high-wattage stars invited and honored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. may have made up for the more obscure honorees.

The National Football League did its part to help both NBC and Fox on the night, with the highly rated second-round playoff game between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers ending just after 8 p.m. in the East on Fox. That freed up more than 40 million viewers — many of whom either stayed with Fox for its animated comedies or were dispersed to the entertainment lineups on other nets.

This year was the third straight that NBC televised the Golden Globes live to all time zones, and some Western markets (including Los Angeles) carried an encore telecast at 8 o’clock, which served to help ratings as Nielsen cumes the numbers for the two airings in these cities.

Nielsen estimates “The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards” from Los Angeles averaged a 5.0 rating in adults 18-49 and 16.8 million viewers overall from 8 to 11 p.m. — off a bit from last year (5.2 in 18-49, 17 million) and 2010 (5.5 in 18-49, 17 million). Show won its final two hours in all categories after lagging Fox’s comedies in demos in the opening hour.

Compared to the most recent ratings for other kudocasts, the Globes came in ahead of the CMA Awards (4.8/13 in 18-49, 16.40m) and American Music Awards on ABC (4.3/10, 12.07m) and the Primetime Emmy Awards on Fox (4.2/11, 12.44m). They lag only February’s Academy Awards on ABC (11.8/30, 37.92m) and Grammy Awards on CBS (10.0/27, 26.67m).

Elsewhere Sunday, “The Simpsons” followed football with roughly a 6.8 rating/16 share in adults 18-49 and 15.7 million viewers overall, and the series premiere of “Napoleon Dynamite” followed with a strong 4.6/11 in the demo and 9.5 million viewers. These numbers are subject to revisions as football delayed the start of Fox’s entertainment lineup by about 10 minutes in much of the country, but “Napoleon” looks to come in as the season’s No. 3 comedy debut in 18-49 (behind CBS’ “2 Broke Girls” and Fox’s “New Girl”).

“Family Guy” was also well above average at 9 o’clock (4.4/10 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall), and a second “Napoleon” at 9:30 did a solid 3.6/8 in 18-49 and 7.2 million viewers overall.

“Napoleon Dynamite,” based on the 2004 theatrical, will regularly air at 8:30.

ABC was led by “Once Upon a Time” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall), which was down about 10% from last week but was the night’s No. 1 drama in demos.

At CBS, the return of “Undercover Boss” did a solid number (prelim 3.0/7, 11.6 million), down from its premiere of last season but up from the latter part of its 2011 run; show will be moving to Fridays next month to make room for “The Amazing Race.” The net then dropped off with “The Good Wife” (prelim 1.9/4, 9.3 million).

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