The Golden Globes have bigger issues than just a failure to land Chris Rock as a host this year. One year after their ceremony was boycotted by big-name celebrities and didn't make it to the airwaves at all, they have signed a new deal with NBC...but just for this year's ceremony, with no promises for anything going forward, meaning that if their ratings don't perform, there's no guarantee of a new deal next year. It's the biggest hurdle they have faced in years, and it's something that highlights the challenges awards shows in general are having as they try to remain relevant.
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.
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. 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."
Given that everyone wanted Rock after last year's Oscars debacle went viral, it's no surprise that they tried to get him. It's also no surprise he turned them down. Even if he hadn't already rejected the Oscars, the comic has not been embracing the virality of "The Slap" and has mostly worked on the road, doing stand-up.
More than Rock, though, they have to deal with the reality that if they can't earn some of Hollywood's goodwill back, there wouldn't be much reason for casual fans to watch the show. And if the ratings are bad this year, they could find themselves in he same precarious position as last year...but without an obvious strategy going forward.