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17 million watch NBC-bashing Golden Globes

The bad news: The experiment in which the Golden Globe Awards show aired live across the country - instead of the usual trophy-show time-shifting to start at 8 p.m. on both coasts - did boost the broadcast's audience by about 2 million viewers compared to last year's show, hitting 17 million.

But the experiment did not bring in the 20-million viewers the show used to snare before the writers strike kicked it in the teeth in 2008. That year, the Globes ceremony had to be turned into a news conference, because stars would not cross the picket line, and only 6 million people bothered to watch.

The good news: That means fewer people heard celebrity after celebrity taking pot shots at NBC, the very network that was stoking their star-making machine by putting them on national TV at the trophy show.

NBC execs were said to have been taken by surprise by the quantity and quality of the network bashing during its own 3-hour broadcast. They had expected a little bit of good-natured needling because they had dared to ask a host to move his timeslot by half an hour. Instead, they discovered, they had become a national joke.

"NBC -- you are in the toilet right now," Julia Roberts said graciously on the red carpet to Billy Bush, host of NBC Universal's celebrity suck-up show "Access Hollywood," officially kicking off the network-bashing.

She, like other celebrities, was being protected by umbrellas because no red-carpet overhang had been set up to shelter starlets and their borrowed designer gowns from the Sunday evening downpour which had been predicted for days - on NBC's own Weather Channel.

"It's not rain - it's just God crying for NBC," joked the network's primetime star Tina Fey" on the red carpet.

"NBC said it was going to rain at 10, but they moved it to 11:30," Tom Hanks said on camera, in re the network's decision to yank failed "The Jay Leno Show" out of the 10 o'clock timeslot and jam it into the network's late night slate, moving its iconic "The Tonight Show" to 12:05 a.m., which host Conan O'Brien has refused to do. (NBC is expected to announce today that Conan is officially out).

Even California's Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger got in on the fun, joking on stage that best-director winner James Cameron is making so much money off "Avatar" "the only way he can make more money is being hired by NBC - or being fired by NBC."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  January 18, 2010; 1:17 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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