Down from Tina and Amy, too, yet UP from the last time Gervais hosted...

By James Hibberd
Updated January 11, 2016 at 06:41 PM EST
Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Love him or loathe him, you were less likely to watch him.

The return of Ricky Gervais as host of the Golden Globes coincided with a decline in the award show’s ratings.

Some early media reports had the ceremony rising based on some less reliable morning numbers. But according to the official national time-zone-adjusted ratings, the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards delivered 18.5 million viewers and a 5.5 rating among adults 18-49 on Sunday night. That’s down about 5 percent from last year’s show, which was hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

The numbers are, however, up 10 percent from the last Globes telecast hosted by Gervais, in 2012. The telecast also out-delivered every Golden Globes in total viewers from 2008 through 2012. NBC also points out that the Globes didn’t drop nearly as much as other award shows over the last year, like the Emmys, People’s Choice, Tonys, Academy Awards, and CMA Awards.

It’s impossible to know how many viewers watch an awards show because of the host, but NBC certainly seemed to bank on the ultra-caustic Gervais’ fourth time at bat to generate some curious what-will-he-say tune-in value. Gervais also joked (maybe?) that he was paid as much as last year’s hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler combined.

Another factor to try and boost the numbers: NBC decided not to stream the awards online to try and drive more viewership to the regular telecast.