Globes golden in ratings race

Telecast expected to beat last year's numbers

The combination of popcorn pics contending for top awards and a comic hosting for the first time in 15 years added up to a strong viewership bounce for this year’s Golden Globe Awards telecast on NBC.

The ratings bump comes at a good time for Dick Clark Prods. and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., as they are likely to begin contract renewal discussions for the kudocast with NBC. NBC has one more year to go on its existing deal to carry the Globes, which has been on the Peacock since 1996. NBC is understood to pay about $5 million a year for Globes rights.

According to time zone-adjusted preliminary Nielsens, the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards telecast averaged a 5.4 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 16.9 million viewers overall from 8 to 11 p.m. ET. This reps an increase of 10% in the demo and 14% in total audience vs. last year’s averages for the kudocast (4.9/12 in 18-49 and 14.9 million viewers overall) and gives NBC its top-rated entertainment show among young adults since the “ER” series finale last April.

The kudocast aired live from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the West Coast for the first time. It was unclear what effect the shift may have had on West Coast ratings, as NBC wasn’t able to provide market-by-market overnights on Monday.

The upward momentum for the Globes continues the trend of rising ratings for awards shows. ABC harvested solid numbers in November for its American Music Awards and Country Music Assn. Awards telecasts. Ratings for the People’s Choice Awards were up for CBS earlier this month. The Eye has been on an awards season roll since last year when it stemmed the tide of declining viewership for the Grammys, Tonys and Primetime Emmy Awards. The Eye is set to air this year’s Grammycast on Jan. 31.

The turnout for the Globes was undoubtedly bolstered by the nominations (and eventual wins) of B.O. hits including “Avatar,” “The Hangover,” “The Blind Side” and Up.” Auds also were likely intrigued by Brit funnyman Ricky Gervais, who was an offbeat choice to serve as the kudocast’s first host in 15 years.

The Globes telecast probably was aided by the conclusion of Sunday’s early-evening NFL playoff game on CBS, which wrapped just before the “Globes” started across the country and freed up more than 40 million viewers. Ratings for the rest of the Eye’s lineup are subject to change as post-game coverage pushed back by 7 minutes the starts of “60 Minutes” (projected 4.1/11 in 18-49, 15.8 million viewers overall), an original “Cold Case” (projected 2.4/6 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall) and a repeat “NCIS” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall).

Fox’s special preview of drama “Human Target” averaged a solid 2.9/7 in 18-49 and 10.1 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour, with the football game on CBS working as something of a quasi lead-in and bringing over a lot of male viewers. Show will air regularly on Wednesdays at 8.

And from 9 to 11 p.m. on Sunday, the two-hour premiere of “24” averaged a 3.8/9 in 18-49 and 11.4 million viewers overall from 9 to 11 p.m. — down from last year’s two-hour bow on a Sunday but narrowly ruling as the night’s top scripted program in 18-49.

At ABC, a repeat of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (1.8/4 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) made it tougher at 9 p.m. for “Desperate Housewives” (3.7/9 in 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall), which — up against both the awards show and “24” — dropped 1 full ratings point from its performance of the previous week and hit a series low. And closing out the night, “Brothers & Sisters” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) was also off noticeably from the previous week.

As for the NFL, Sunday’s first game between the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys on Fox (1:05 p.m. ET kickoff) averaged a 23.9 household rating/46 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights — the best score in the Divisional Playoff round since a game between the New York Giants and Cowboys earned a 25.8/43 on Fox two years ago and the highest for the early game on this day in 10 years.

And at CBS, the Divisional Playoff matchup between the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers (4:40 p.m. ET start) averaged a 23.1/39 in the overnights, up 8% vs. last year’s comparable 21.4/36 (San Diego-Pittsburgh). This makes it the top-rated Divisional contest on CBS in five years.

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