Golden Globes draw 18.3 million viewers on NBC, down slightly from 2019

Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Tom Hanks at the 77th Golden Globes at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The 77th Golden Globes on Sunday night was watched by 18.3 million viewers, a drop of nearly 2% from last year.

While Nielsen data show the ceremony hosted by acerbic comic Ricky Gervais dipped for the third straight year, the audience is still among the biggest nonsports draws for network TV.

The viewing level has remained in the same range in recent years (18.6 million viewers in 2019, 19 million in 2018 and 20 million in 2017), while other awards shows and TV events have seen significant erosion because of competition from streaming and the availability of clips online.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. ceremony honoring movies and TV shows was filled with emotional political statements by presenters and winners. Such displays have been cited as a reason for tune-out of other show business awards shows, especially among viewers between the coasts.


But any potentially polarizing moments on Sunday’s program were balanced by lengthy segments honoring performers with broad audience appeal.

Tom Hanks was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, recognizing his lifetime achievement in filmmaking. Ellen DeGeneres received the Carol Burnett Award for her contributions to television.

NBC’s telecast once again had help from the NFL wild-card playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles, which provided a strong audience lead-in instead of a red carpet arrival show.

But the boost was not as large as last year’s late-afternoon wild-card contest between the Eagles and the Chicago Bears, which led into the 2019 Globes and was decided by a missed field goal in the final seconds, just six minutes before the Globes telecast began.

This year, the wild-card game was not as close — the Seahawks topped the Eagles, 17-9 — and ended 21 minutes before the start of the awards show, giving viewers more time to head elsewhere.

Big winners in the television categories included HBO’s “Chernobyl” and “Succession” and Amazon’s “Fleabag.” On the film side, “1917” and “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” earned the top prizes.