Are the Golden Globes Still Golden?

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at 2021 Golden Globes
Tina Fey (l.) and Amy Poehler host the last televised Golden Globe Awards ceremony in 2021. The event will air on NBC and Peacock in 2023. (Image credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The Golden Globe Awards happens on January 10. NBC airs the event, and Peacock streams it, a year after the network did not air the Globes in response to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s glaring lack of diversity and other issues. 

The 2022 Golden Globes were neither on television nor live-streamed. A year later, one wonders how much the Globes still matter. They’ve long been known as a looser, more spontaneous event than the Emmys — “the fun cousin of the awards party,” Cultique CEO and founder Linda Ong said — where attendees sit at tables and enjoy a few glasses of wine. 

As with any major awards event, the Globes mean prestige and marketing for a winning, or even nominated, star or show. The HFPA often singles out less-heralded properties than the Emmys. Some, such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine getting top comedy in 2014, were unexpected and respected. Some, such as Emily in Paris, nominated for best comedy in 2021, were mocked. 

Dom Caristi, professor emeritus of communications at Ball State University, said the Globes still matter. “Almost all of the awards shows draw significant audiences — maybe not sizeable like they once were, but large enough to fuel a surge in audience interest in the movies, TV shows and stars that win,” he said. 

NBC dropping the Globes in 2022 was a big deal in the industry. Outside of it, Preston Beckman, chairman of media consultancy The Beckman Group, said viewers probably don’t recall that the Globes were not on last year. They’ll tune in this time to see their favorite celebrities in action. 

“It’s three hours of content that will bring people to either my network or my streaming service,” he said. “Period.”

Industry watchers say the emergence of social media platforms gives consumers a direct connection to the stars. So the hunger to see A-listers at the Globes or Emmys is not what it once was. “The shows thrived in the age before social media, when you’d never see talent with their hair down,” said Ong. “Now you can always see that.”

Rebuilding the HFPA 

The Globes got waylaid after a series of reports, including those from the Los Angeles Times, revealed how none of the HFPA’s 87 members were Black. The HFPA added 103 new voters to its ranks. The voters pool is represented by 62 countries. It is 52% female and nearly 52% racially and ethnically diverse. 

NBC believes the HFPA is moving in the right direction. “We recognize the HFPA’s commitment to ongoing change,” said Frances Berwick, chairman, entertainment networks, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, when NBC announced it was back with the Golden Globes in September. 

NBC is committed to 2023’s Globes only. 

Has the HFPA done enough? “They’ve got a long way to go,” said Caristi, “but it’s an improvement.”

‘Succession’ Finds Success

Golden Globes nominations were announced December 12. 

Succession got top drama last year, while Hacks was top comedy. HBO claimed six Golden Globes and Apple TV Plus, Amazon Prime Video, FX, Hulu and Netflix got one apiece. 

Awards events are hardly the draw they used to be, just as nothing on broadcast TV is the draw that it used to be. That so many networks are cranking out quality programming on a range of platforms means the viewer has probably never seen much of what gets awarded on these nights. “Awards shows in general are on a path of diminishing returns,” Ong said, “because tastes have gotten so fragmented.”

Beckman noted that the Globes are primarily about celeb-watching, more than tuning in to see if a favorite show wins. “Most people have not seen the shows and movies they will nominate,” he said. 

A few mass-market movies, such as Top Gun: Maverick, will draw some attention to the Globes. But awards event ratings aren’t likely to pick up again. “It’s going to continue a downward trend, as the younger generation looks at Rotten Tomatoes instead of awards shows to tell them what to watch,” Caristi said. 

For NBC, Ong said the Globes are both an ad-sales vehicle and a promotional platform, so a hefty Nielsen number is less of an issue. As viewers of the Oscars back in March will attest, most anything can happen in a ballroom full of celebrities, especially if there is wine involved — even if no celebrity gets slapped at the Globes. 

“Worst case, nobody talks about it, but NBC pockets the money from advertisers,” Ong said. “Best case, something happens.” ▪️

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.