In Depth

Globes Ready to Shine Again

Awards Dodge Threat of SAG Strike

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globe Awards is one of the earliest major prizes to measure the artistic merit of the new fall TV series.

Last year, the HFPA gave its top TV laurel to AMC’s “Mad Men,” which later went on to become the first basic-cable series to win best drama series at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Primetime Emmy Awards.

While the battle for trophies between broadcast and cable television will continue through the awards season, the HFPA and Globes telecast producer Dick Clark Productions are glad to be able to return with a full spectacle on NBC on Sunday after being sidetracked by the 100-day Hollywood writers strike last year.

“We are back right now and we are going to plan to come back with all the glamour and excitement that the Golden Globes is famous for,” said Barry Adelman, one of the show’s executive producers for DCP.

After the Writers Guild of America threatened to picket the ceremony last year, the HFPA and DCP decided to scale back the three-hour ceremony to a brief news conference announcing the winners.

The glitz, the glamour, the gowns and the awkward moments of winners detained in the restroom were gone.

Jump to 2009: The timeline in the pending Screen Actors Guild strike authorization vote has kept this year’s Globes ceremony out of jeopardy, and the ailing economy has placed more attention on Hollywood entertainment as an escape.

“Obviously, we didn’t want to be affected two years in a row,” Mr. Adelman said. “We think it’s important that the show happen this year. Without taking sides at all, we’re just glad to be able to do our show.”

The excitement and glamour last seen at the Globes two years ago is worth a lot to all involved.

NBC, which has carried the Golden Globe Awards event exclusively for years, took a particularly hard blow last year. Not only did the strike sap the show’s star power but, after a dispute with DCP over the license fee for a lesser show to be produced around the press conference, it lost exclusive broadcast rights to the announcement; other outlets including E! and TV Guide Network were allowed to cover it in its entirety.

2007’s 64th annual Golden Globes ceremony on NBC posted a 13.2 Nielsen rating among households and a 6.5 among viewers 18 to 49 years old. Last year’s “Access Hollywood”-branded presentation on NBC pulled a 4.1 in households and a 1.7 in viewers 18-49, off 69% and 74%, respectively, in the demographics.

Mr. Adelman looked back at the show’s history before last year as inspiration for what the Globes will look like this year.

“The important thing for me was to stay on course, remember what made the show as popular as it has been, and to reinforce that,” Mr. Adelman said. He hopes to focus on the party as a big draw for viewers, with special attention on the stars in the audience.

“Our philosophy has always been to let the party happen, not to overload it with a lot of production and packages that would slow it down,” Mr. Adelman said about show production priorities.

The telecast is counting on a familiar pool of nominees in order to draw viewers, and the list of presenters continues to expand. Last week, recent “CSI” addition Laurence Fishburne and “Gossip Girl’s” Blake Lively joined a diverse list of scheduled presenters, including Glenn Close, Ricky Gervais, Salma Hayek and Amy Poehler.

“Having all these great stars in the same place at the same time … it doesn’t happen in any other show of this kind,” Mr. Adelman said. “And the intimacy of the Beverly Hilton Hotel—when you do those shots of the tables and you see the people jammed in side by side with each other, the biggest people in the business, and they’re all fans of each other—it creates a very electric atmosphere.”

As for the show itself, Mr. Adelman said new logistical elements will contribute to the viewer experience.

Producers have placed “some additional cameras in some unique places where we haven’t had them before,” Mr. Adelman said. “We’ve redesigned the stage to make the room more glamorous and intimate than it’s been before.”

The struggling economy hasn’t had a direct effect on show preparations, but rather placed more significance on having this kind of ceremony at this moment in time.

“I think if you go into the history of [difficult] economic times in this country, you’ll see that’s when entertainment kind of comes into its own,” Mr. Adelman said. “If we can take people away from their problems and have a little fun for a few hours, that’ll be a huge accomplishment.”