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    Telethon, Globes Ratings Not Golden

    Whether movie stars were doing good deeds on a telethon, or wearing glitzy duds on the Golden Globes, TV viewers were similarly unimpressed.

    Ratings for the A-list events were something less than A-list, with the Globes taking the biggest hit, and reverting to its Pia Zadora past.

    Per Nielsen Media Research estimates, Sunday's three-hour Globes telecast, carried on NBC, averaged 16.7 million. That's down nearly 40 percent from last year's record-setting broadcast.

    The more you crunch the numbers the worse they get: The show ran third in the 9-10 p.m. hour behind ABC's Desperate Housewives (24 million) and CBS' Cold Case (15.5 million); the show was the least watched Globes ever on NBC; and the show was the least watched Globes on a broadcast network since 1982 when 16.4 million tuned into CBS and saw Zadora crowned New Star of the Year. (In the wake of Zadora, the event spent the next 13 years in syndication and cable hell before being recalled to the big leagues in 1996 by NBC.)

    In comparison to last year's much anticipated The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King coronation, Sunday's Globes saw big wins for films that have yet to attract big audiences, chiefly The Aviator, Sideways and Closer.

    As is its prerogative, ABC saw its newly powerful Sunday lineup as a chief culprit in the Globes' demise. The network outdrew the awards show over the first two hours, thanks to the 8 p.m. edition of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (20.4 million) and the Globe-winning Desperate Housewives. CBS, meanwhile, hammered NBC's 7 p.m. Globes pre-show special with playoff football action.

    In the battle of the red-carpet shows, ratings for E!'s Live from the Red Carpet, with host Star Jones Reynolds and special correspondent Kathy Griffin, were off from last year, but still double those posted by newcomer TV Guide Channel, which featured former E! personalities Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers. (E! Online is a division of E! Networks.)

    While there was no red carpet at NBC's Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope, there was no shortage of stars. There was, however, a shortage of viewers.

    An estimated 5.7 million watched the likes of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Drew Barrymore and Ben Affleck work the phones at Saturday's two-hour telethon, aimed at raising money for areas ravaged by the killer tsunamis in southern Asia. Overall, nearly 20 million caught some, or all, of the telecast on NBC and its cable networks.

    In 2001, nearly 89 million watched some, or all, of America: A Tribute to Heroes, a similar all-star telethon for 9/11 victims.

    A Tribute to Heroes was carried by about 30 cable and broadcast networks; Tsunami Aid, on about 10 NBC-owned outlets, faced stiff competition from a prime-time football playoff game on Fox.

    Organizers of Tsunami Aid likely are more interested in donations than ratings. There still was no word Tuesday on how much was raised by the weekend effort.

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