Speed Reads

2021 Golden Globes

2021 Golden Globes viewership was disastrously low

The 2021 Golden Globes might have been the strangest and most chaotic in the ceremony's recent history, but it looks like viewers just weren't interested.

Sunday's broadcast of the 78th Golden Globe Awards on NBC drew an average television audience of just 6.9 million viewers, Nielsen said, per The Wrap. This was a massive drop from the average of 18.3 million viewers who tuned into 2020's show, and it's the lowest audience for the Golden Globes since 1995, before the telecast moved from TBS to NBC, according to TV Line.

But the Globes were the "least watched ever on NBC," according to The Hollywood Reporter, which notes the prior low was 2009's 14.86 million viewers. This isn't counting 2008, when the Globes was just a press conference because of the writers strike, Deadline notes.

Awards shows have been slipping in the ratings over the past few years, though the Los Angeles Times notes the Globes had "generally held steady at 18 million to 20 million viewers" recently. But in 2021, the show didn't even come close to that. To put in perspective how bad the ratings were, the Reporter points out that 60 Minutes and the Queen Latifah CBS series The Equalizer drew more viewers.

So what happened? It was certainly an unusual year for the Globes, with many splashy movie releases having been delayed due to theaters being closed amid the pandemic, and with nominees joining the bicoastal telecast remotely. It could also be that more viewers than usual simply weren't familiar with the films up for awards, though a number of the nominees were released by streaming services.

The most recent Academy Awards in February 2020 drew that ceremony's smallest audience of all time, but the ratings for the Globes suggest an even more dramatic plunge in Oscar ratings could be inevitable. Indeed, NBC's Dylan Byers wrote that after looking at these numbers, the Oscars "should be in a state of absolute panic."