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Golden Globes deliver second-worst ratings since '95

January 12, 2009 |  9:11 am

Katewinslet Fancy gowns and teary speeches made a comeback at Sunday's Golden Globes on NBC, but all that couldn't rescue the ceremony's ratings, with the telecast delivering its second-worst numbers since 1995.

The three-hour Globes averaged 14.6 million total viewers, according to early data from Nielsen Media Research. That was a big improvement over last year, when the writers strike led to a stripped-down, one-hour telecast seen by a total of only 6 million viewers.

But the Sunday telecast marked a steep dive from 2007, when the Globes averaged 20 million total viewers -- not to mention as recently as 2004, when the award show was encroaching on Oscar territory with an audience of 26.8 million.

It's possible that last year's interruption may have hurt the Globes. Limited constituencies for the movies nominated this year -- including "The Reader," "Revolutionary Road" and "Slumdog Millionaire" -- probably  didn't help, either.

On the bright side, the Globes ranked first in every half-hour the program aired except for the 8:00-8:30 p.m. block, when CBS' "60 Minutes" was artificially inflated due to the runover in some markets from the San Diego Chargers-Pittsburgh Steelers football game.

On Fox, a two-hour special season opener of "24" averaged 12.6 million total viewers, which was slightly higher than the numbers for the series' "Redemption" TV movie that aired back in November and roughly in line with "24's" season averages across its run. However, the special slid 20% in viewers compared with the Sunday Season 6 opener that ran back in Jan. 2007. Overall, it was the least-watched season launch for “24” since the third-season premiere in Oct. 2003 drew 11.6 million viewers.

ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” (13.8 million viewers) beat the Globes during the 9 p.m. hour among adults 18-49 (5.2 rating/12 share vs. 4.7/10) but nevertheless tied its lowest-ever rating for an original episode.

-- Scott Collins   

(Photo courtesy AP)

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