Inside NBCUniversal, there’s a quiet understanding that Tuesday’s Golden Globe Awards telecast will almost certainly be NBC’s last. The network isn’t exactly pretending the Globes don’t exist; after the one-year banishment, it has been heavily promoting the return of Hollywood’s so-called “biggest party,” during football, on Today, and via its digital outlets. And I’m told a big contingent of NBCU executives, including C.E.O. Jeff Shell, entertainment networks chair Frances Berwick, NBC chief Susan Rovner, and Peacock’s Kelly Campbell, will all make the mid-week slog in the rain to the Beverly Hilton. But barring some strategy shift or an unexpected ratings spike, this will be the end of an off-and-on relationship that dates back to the 1950s. Pour out a little Moët.
Shell isn’t exactly sad, of course. He actually pulled off a minor business miracle, leveraging the publicist-led outrage over the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s lack of Black members and longstanding ethical issues to escape an onerous contract signed in 2018, right before the bottom fell out of everything except the NFL on linear television. As I discussed back in September, that deal paid the H.F.P.A. and Globes producer Dick Clark Productions more than $60 million annually, a sum growing larger each year, and it wasn’t set to end until 2027. That’s for three hours of television once a year, and when the NFL added an extra week of games, the Globes’ early-January perch suddenly became a conflict with Sunday Night Football, the highest-rated show on TV.
So cutting bait with a one-off compromise on a non-sports Tuesday would have been a great option for NBC even if the Globes and their various controversies hadn’t turned into a gigantic time-suck with diminishing advertising returns. Ad demand for the show is indeed down this year, I’m told, but several factors are in play, including the overall market troubles, the shift to mid-week, and the fact that NBC couldn’t sell the Globes at its upfront in May because it wasn’t decided until September that there would even be a Globes show to sell.