Comedian and actor Chris Rock reportedly turned down a huge payday to host the Golden Globes, less than a year after he was assaulted on stage at the Oscars. Smith, who also reportedly turned down an offer to return to host the Academy Awards in the spring, has been a sought-after on-stage presence since Will Smith went onto the Oscars stage to slap the comedian last year. Rock had included Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, in a barrage of jokes about celebrities who were there that night. Rock has made relatively few public comments about the incident, and has turned down hosting opportunities and focused on stand-up comedy.
According to Puck, Rock was offered an undisclosed amount, characterized by one insider as a "shit-ton" of money, in the hopes of attracting eyeballs to the Golden Globes. Last year's ceremony did not get broadcast, after numerous A-list stars refused to attend due to some behind-the-scenes issues, including a lack of diversity among members. This year's show will be on NBC and Peacock, but there's just a one-year deal in place, meaning that if their ratings don't perform, there's no guarantee of a new deal next year.
Using a very appropriate sports metaphor, Puck summed up the situation: "the Globes now are basically an aging player in a contract year, hoping to avoid a career-ending injury (like a celebrity boycott), put up impressive-enough numbers, test free agency, and ultimately take their talents to South Beach-or in this case, CBS or Netflix."
Awards shows in general have not been generating the kind of ratings they used to. The frequent claim is that popular movies don't get recognition, and nobody wants to tune in to see all the awards go to some indie drama they've never heard of -- but it may be even simpler than that. Once upon a time, the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and so on, were a rare opportunity to see huge stars on the red carpet and in the ceremony, without having to pay for a seat at the movie theater. With social media and an endless number of channels, those opportunities are no longer rare.
If the Globes went after Rock, though, it seems likely they will still aim high for a new host. The level of controversy around the Hollywood Foreign Press Association seems to have died down, so it's possible they could get one...but whether the celebrities, and the audience, still return is anybody's guess.