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The Golden Globes Mess

January 11, 2008 6:48 PM

What a disaster.

Here’s the announcement from Dick Clark Productions on why the Golden Globes is suddenly a free-for-all media event:

“NBC wanted to have an exclusive three-hour broadcast special disguised as a news conference that would bar all other media, and yet was unwilling to pay a nominal license fee to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions. The HFPA and Dick Clark Productions felt this arrangement was unfair and unacceptable and therefore opened up the event to all media.”

Now what on earth does that mean?

NBC’s answer is complicated, but get-able.

A high-ranking NBC source emphasizes that the network’s Globes agreement is with Dick Clark Productions, not HFPA. When the regular Globes ceremony went pear-shaped because of the writers strike, NBC wanted to invoke a clause in their contract with DCP that permitted postponing the awards altogether should the production company be unable to deliver the usual show.

The only problem: DCP lacked a similar clause in its agreement with HFPA and couldn’t actually move the date.

Therefore, NBC was locked into Jan. 13 and stuck with having to air the awards as a news conference.

“We’re all taking a huge bath on this,” the NBC source says. “We would trade the losses we are taking on this with anybody. We’ve sunk millions into preparing for the event alone.”

Rather than politely taking a soak along with it, NBC claims, DCP turned around this week and demanded a “north of seven figures” license fee to offset its losses.

“Seven figures,” added the NBC source, “is not ‘nominal.’”

NBC refused to pay. DCP retaliated by—and this part is still fuzzy—somehow convincing the HFPA to open the event to all media.

“It’s a nice little kiss from our friends at Dick Clark—here’s a wound, let’s pour salt in it,” the NBC source says.

Now NBC is threatening legal action against DCP: “We have a strong legal claim against Dick Clark Productions and we’re going to pursue it.”

The claim is not so much for losing NBC News’ Globes night exclusivity, but for DCP not having a matching postponement clause in its HFPA contract—and everybody having to go through with this lame half news-half awards, no red carpet and no party endeavor in the first place.

“If [the Globes press conference is] going to be as low-rated as we think it’s going to be,” the NBC source says, “we hope other networks carry it, too.”

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