With the Golden Globe Awards reduced to a one-hour newscast, the cable networks that bank on them for red-carpet ratings are having to dial down their own programming and give other spots to advertisers.
E! Entertainment Television and TV Guide Network, both of which count on red-carpet specials to yield ratings spikes during awards season, have retooled their Globes coverage, swapping out multihour, live, on-site preshow telecasts with reality show reruns (on E!) and studio-based news shows (on TV Guide). Although both network said they are not giving advertisers any money back, they are working to give them spots in other programming or create new advertising opportunities.
E! will forgo its usual two-hour live countdown and two-hour red-carpet show from the Beverly Hilton for a 4 p.m.-11 p.m. (EST/PST) programming stunt it's calling "Stay Home Sunday," an allusion to the fact that Hollywood types who would otherwise have attended the Globes will be at home. A 4 p.m.-8 p.m. marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians will be followed by Snoop Dogg's Father Hood from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. and a new episode of The Girls Next Door at 10 p.m.
E! News host Ryan Seacrest will cut in during the live, NBC News-produced press conference, scheduled for 9 p.m. (EST)/6 p.m. (PST), with updates as the winners are announced. He had been scheduled to host the red-carpet coverage with Giuliana Rancic.
TV Guide, which had also planned a two-hour live countdown and two hours of red-carpet coverage, will instead run a two-hour Countdown to the Globes news show at 7 p.m. (EST)/4 p.m. (PST) with taped packages about the nominees live out of its Hollywood & Highland studio. During the press conference, the network will run an American Idol preview show.
Both networks will run news specials recapping the winners. TV Guide will run Globes Post-Show at 10 p.m. (EST)/7 p.m. (PST) Sunday after the NBC News show, hosted live by Harrison and Sansone from its studio. E!, which had planned a post-show Sunday night, will run its post-show at 7 p.m. (EST)/10 p.m. (PST) Monday, in E! News' usual time slot.
Both of these networks are hoping that the writers' strike won't affect any more awards shows and that they're able to salvage some red-carpet specials out of the season. One sure bet is Jan. 27's Screen Actors Guild Awards, which could end up being this year's best red carpet since the Writers Guild of America granted a waiver to enable that show to go on as planned.
Ratings for red-carpet coverage at last year's Globes were up slightly over the year prior for both E! and TV Guide (a 2.1 and 0.7 household rating in metered markets, respectively), as were the numbers for the awards themselves. But they'll likely be far lower this year without stars on the red carpet. TV Guide said it still plans five hours of coverage with Rinna and Fatone for the SAG Awards, while E! plans to dispatch Seacrest and Rancic.
Both networks said they had sold advertisers packages of awards-show coverage and would rearrange sponsors' spots so as to avoid having to give any money back. Both had also carefully planned marketing campaigns this year around promoting the concept of red-carpet lifestyle, as opposed to any single telecast, with E! selling red-carpet Barbies, nail polish and wine and TV Guide offering a contest with Jell-O.
E! released a statement saying that the network was working on offering advertisers that had bought into its Globes red-carpet show make-goods.
"E!'s sales team is working with advertisers to develop suitable make-good packages," the statement read. "E! delivered its most-watched year ever in 2007 and, as the network posts more record ratings in the new year, we are confident that we will continue to provide valuable opportunities on the network."
TV Guide Network president Ryan O'Hara released a statement saying that the network regretted that its coverage would not go on as planned, but that it didn't foresee a financial hit.
"We do not expect to lose any of our advertisers for the Globes, and we will shift certain sponsorships of red-carpet coverage to our live preshow at the SAG Awards Jan. 27, as well as other award shows," he said. "We sell packages across the five major award shows each year, and we've taken a proactive approach to make sure our advertising customers are taken care of in different ways."