On a night when politics nearly overshadowed show business, NBC's telecast of Golden Globes Awards was watched by 19 million viewers on Sunday, a 5% decline from 2017.
Though the ratings from Nielsen were off from the previous year, the audience for the show emceed by "Late Night" host Seth Meyers was within the range of what the Golden Globes Awards have delivered in recent years. Last year's telecast hosted by Jimmy Fallon was watched by 20 million viewers, which was up 8% over 2016.
But this year's show saw an 11% year-to-year decline in the 18-to-49 age group that advertisers covet most.
The ceremony was filled with speeches addressing the sexual harassment scandals that have plagued Hollywood over the last year. That may have turned off some male viewers. The rating among men age 18 to 49 was down 13% compared with 2017, versus a 9% drop among women in the demographic.
Frequent acceptance speeches that highlight social issues can cause some viewers to tune out, but the Golden Globes likely had enough star power to mitigate any serious falloff. Oprah Winfrey, recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, is always a big draw, and her powerful oratory about sexual harassment prompted calls on social media for her to run for president in 2020.
The dropoff in the 18-to-49 demographic can also be attributed to growth in the number of people who watch highlights of the program online rather than sit through the broadcast in real time — a trend that has pulled TV viewers from all live awards shows in recent years. Facebook said that by Monday midday, 21 million people had watched Winfrey's speech on the social media platform's Golden Globe Awards watch page.
Even with the TV ratings decline, the show was the most watched entertainment program since 32.9 million viewers tuned into ABC's telecast of the Oscars ceremony on Feb. 27, 2017.