By Tim Baysinger and Jill Serjeant
(Reuters) - The Golden Globes were a strong night for “La La Land” and FX’s “Atlanta,” but first-time host Jimmy Fallon’s performance at the movie and TV awards show received mixed reviews.
Sunday’s broadcast of the 74th Golden Globe Awards by Comcast Corp's NBC is on track to top last year’s audience, following two years of declines, according to preliminary figures released by Nielsen.
The three-hour show drew 16.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s “fast-affiliate” numbers, which were up nearly 8 percent from last year. The broadcast is also pacing 4 percent higher among adults 18-49, the demographic that advertisers most covet.
Since it was a live event, the figures do not include West Coast viewers. NBC will release time-zone adjusted numbers from Nielsen later on Monday. Last year, the final audience tally was 18.5 million viewers.
As host, Fallon won few friends, with many critics missing the sharp edge brought by British comedian Ricky Gervais and duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in recent years. Fallon’s performance was marred from the start, as the teleprompter cut out almost immediately after he walked onstage.
Industry publication Variety said Fallon, who made some Trump jokes, impersonated actor Chris Rock and poked fun at singer Mariah Carey's floundering New Year's Eve performance, started strong. But he faded in the second half of the show, when he was overshadowed “by a few performers who got political, or by presenters who simply had more charisma than the 'Tonight Show' host.”
Vanity Fair said Fallon was "oddly tone deaf."
“In general, the monologue was unpleasant," the magazine said. "The jokes were stale and wheezy and Fallon’s lovable-cute shtick was more wearying than it was charming.”
James Poniewozik at the New York Times said: “This year just didn’t seem like his cultural moment.”
Entertainment website Deadline called the show dull.
USA Today was kinder, saying Fallon and the Globes were a "perfect match."
“It's almost impossible not to like Fallon,” wrote Robert Bianco. "Yes, he often seems to be trying awfully hard to be liked — but darned if he doesn’t succeed."
The show got low marks from viewers. "Too much blah blah. Not enough HA-HA," wrote Twitter user Cathi Carpenter.
"Jimmy Fallon has been MIA for at least 45 minutes," tweeted Vivienne Finch during Sunday’s ceremony. "This is good.”
(Reporting by Tim Baysinger; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)