The annual Golden Globe Awards have a new broadcast home, moving from longtime carrier NBC to CBS this January. It’s the latest in a growing list of changes for the long-running awards program, once seen as the light-hearted precursor to the Oscars but more recently plagued by scandals.
In fact, the Globes had become so polarizing and the ratings dipped so low that NBC stopped carrying the program in 2022, then brought it back with just a one-year contract for the 2023 awards. The CBS deal ends a decades-long relationship with NBC, which once drew tens of millions of viewers for the ceremony.
Of course, it hasn’t been an easy time for any awards program, with ratings already dropping before the pandemic and accelerating into a free fall amid the COVID-19 outbreak, when movie theaters went dim, and awards shows were stripped down to remote video acceptances by the winners to avoid passing on the virus.
Shows have returned largely to normal over the past year, but the Globes had other issues to contend with.
Scandals For The Hollywood Foreign Press Association
The awards are given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a small group with outsized influence; Globe winners often become Academy Award favorites.
But in 2021, the group faced criticism for its lack of diversity. The Los Angeles Times published a report detailing the homogenous makeup of the HFPA, which had no Black members; that year’s major nominees were almost entirely white. The Globes had still been recovering from a previous scandal. In 2018, actor Brendan Fraser alleged that 15 years earlier, then-HFPA president Phillip Berk had sexually assaulted him (Berk has denied the allegation).
Changes Ahead, With More To Come
The public outcry over the Globes’ lack of diversity sparked the HFPA to make changes. It claims to have increased the size of its membership while adding more Black members as well as other people of color.
Still, NBC refused to broadcast the 2022 show, and it only entered a one-year contract for the 2023 Golden Globes, which was hosted by actor and comedian Jerrod Carmichael, who confronted the controversy head-on.
“I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’m here because I’m Black,” he began the hosting gig. “The Golden Globe Awards did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which I won’t say they were a racist organization, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died. So do with that information what you will.”
The move to CBS could benefit the Globes in several ways. CBS will air the ceremony on January 7, 2024, directly after an NFL doubleheader, giving the awards program a hefty lead-in that should boost ratings from last year. The 2023 edition averaged 6.3 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, an all-time low. By comparison, in 2004, it drew 26.8 million, and it had only dipped below 14.9 million twice before 2023.
The Globes have made other changes—some, it was speculated, to attract the interest of a streaming platform to televise the awards program. For instance, it has added two new award categories, Cinematic and Box Office Achievement in Motion Pictures and Best Stand-Up Comedian on Television (the latter basically a love note to Netflix
And it’s certainly courting viewers with the changes. The vast majority of prestige movies nominated for awards perform middling at the box office; it’s rare for a blockbuster to get awards traction. Changing up the movie categories to recognize box office achievement is a way to ensure the Marvel and Star Wars stars show up, also drawing viewers.
And with the pressure on to revive the show with the new CBS contract, you can expect more such adjustments in the future.