LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - All the hype surrounding British comedian Ricky Gervais's return to host Sunday night's Golden Globe awards and how he might tweak the sensibilities of the stars in attendance failed to boost the TV audience.
The star-studded Hollywood awards ceremony lured 16.8 million total viewers to the telecast, the NBC television network said on Monday. That was a slight dip from the 17 million who tuned in last year when Gervais ruffled feathers in the audience and drew poor reviews for caustic jokes about stars including Robert Downey, Jr. and Charlie Sheen.
Among the key viewer group of 18-to 49-years-old adults, the awards telecast drew a 5.0 rating, which again was slightly below last year's 5.2, according to NBC.
Gervais promised more of the same type of humor this year, and aimed his acid wit at Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Kim Kardashian and others. But his edge was decidedly less sharp this year, and for the most part, critics noticed.
"Despite all the tough talk leading to Sunday night's broadcast, it was a markedly respectful and restrained Ricky Gervais who showed up," TV critic Mary McNamara began her review in the Los Angeles Times
Writing for show business website TheWrap.com, Tim Molloy said "Gervais told solid jokes. But despite promises he wouldn't hold back, none were as harsh as the ones last year."
(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Christopher Michaud)