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How Golden Globes Ratings Stack Up Against Oscars, Emmys, Grammys

The 2020 Golden Globes ratings went the way of seemingly all awards show these days, dipping to 18.3 million total viewers and a 4.7 rating among adults 18-49.

Although last night’s Ricky Gervais-hosted show was only down 2% on 2019, according to Nielsen live-plus same day numbers, it still represented an eight-year viewership low for the HFPA soiree.

Going back just five years to 2016 also shows that the Globes demo rating has dropped nearly a full point in that time, though viewership has remained relatively steady despite being lower than in years past.

The Globes are often viewed as an early indicator of which direction the Academy Awards will go, and it remains to be seen whether the 2020 Oscars will also mirror the Globes in taking a ratings hit. Still, the Oscars remain one of the most watched telecasts of the year even with lower ratings.

One crucial aspect where the Globes and the Oscars are dividing, however, is in the hosting department. The Globes opted to bring Gervais back for a fifth outing last night, while the Academy is once again sticking with the hostless formula. Last year’s Oscars, which drew just under 30 million viewers, saw a slight rise from 2018, but still garnered the second smallest audience ever for an Academy Awards telecast. Part of the reason viewers returned to the Oscars this past year was no doubt to see if the telecast would go off the rails, given all the controversy that surrounded Kevin Hart’s exit as host of the show. 

And the hostless route didn’t work out so well for the Emmys in 2019, as the TV awards show dropped 33% to an all-time low in rating and total viewership with a no-host ceremony on Fox.

This year’s Emmys was the lowest-rated and least-watched in the show’s history, a refrain that is becoming all too familiar when discussing award -how ratings lately. The Oscars recorded the show’s lowest viewership ever in 2018, while the Grammys hit a new all-time demo low in 2019.

Another problem facing major awards shows is not just declining viewership, but an aging audience as well. The median age for viewers of the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, and Golden Globes has creeped up past 50 in recent years. By comparison, that age for the average Oscars viewer 20 years ago was just below 40.

However, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom for live event ratings of late. NFL viewership is up 5% overall for the 2019-2020 season, per the league, showing that there is still plenty of willingness among audiences to tune in to the big four networks for live events.

Awards Show 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Golden Globes 5.5 rating (18-49)/18.5 million viewers (NBC) 5.6 rating (18-49)/20 million viewers (NBC) 5.0 rating (18-49)/19 million viewers (NBC) 5.2 rating (18-49)/18.6 million viewers (NBC) 4.7 rating (18-49)/18.3 million viewers (NBC)
Academy Awards 10.5 rating (18-49)/34.4 million viewers (ABC) 9.1 rating (18-49)/33 million viewers (ABC) 6.8 rating (18-49)/26.5 million viewers (ABC) 7.7 rating (18-49)/29.6 million viewers (ABC) TBD
Emmys 2.9 rating (18-49)/11.4 million viewers (ABC) 2.5 rating (18-49)/11.4 million viewers (CBS) 2.4 rating (18-49)/10.2 million viewers (NBC) 1.6 rating (18-49)/6.9 million viewers (Fox) TBD
Grammys 7.7 rating (18-49)/24.9 million viewers (CBS) 7.8 rating (18-49)/26.1 million viewers(CBS) 5.9 rating (18-49)/19.8 million viewers (CBS) 5.6 rating (18-49)/19.9 million viewers (CBS) TBD

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