And the Golden Globes Go to… CBS

Jay Penske celebrates on the podium during the Hyderabad E-Prix on February 11, 2023 in Hyderabad, India.
Jay Penske celebrates on podium during the Hyderabad E-Prix in February 2023. Photo: Akhil Puthiyedath ATPImages/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
November 20, 2023

CBS passed not once but twice on the Golden Globes, so when Jay Penske, the trade media magnate who now also controls Globes producer Dick Clark Productions, came back a third time, it was on his knees, with a price that CBS’s George Cheeks couldn’t refuse. I don’t have the exact license fee, but I’m told by three sources it’s nowhere near the more than $60 million a year (!) that NBC was paying. (One source says it’s less than $10 million, but that’s not confirmed; CBS declined to comment and Dick Clark’s publicist didn’t respond.) 

Remember, NBC paid full freight for January’s show in exchange for exiting its long-term deal litigation-free in the wake of the HFPA diversity scandal, and Dick Clark accepted that arrangement just to get its key asset back on TV after the 2022 show was kicked off the air entirely. That January telecast generated 6.3 million viewers, a record low, but it was on a Tuesday with no lead-in. So the CBS broadcast, airing Jan. 7 in the traditional slot after Sunday NFL games (though opposite NBC’s Sunday Night Football), should improve ratings significantly, especially if producers Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner find a halfway decent name to host. Those plans are now afoot.   

This is a big haircut for Penske, but a necessary one. Getting the Globes on a network actually watched by the remaining demo for awards shows (older women) was the only thing that mattered for an event that risked sliding into total irrelevance. Without that perch, a show that once regularly lured more than 20 million viewers would become the Critics Choice Awards, or the Indie Spirits, or DCP’s Billboard Music Awards—which, as I mentioned Thursday, is airing on Penske’s own website tonight. “This milestone isn’t perfect,” Penske admitted in an email to DCP employees on Friday. “But a tremendous step forward for DCP, and one we should celebrate.” With DCP’s BBMAs and American Music Awards both currently homeless, and its Academy of Country Music Awards hanging on by a thread after a price drop to get a new two-year deal at Amazon Prime Video, any positive news about an awards show is a win.