Golden Globes' Truce: Awards show will air on NBC Jan. 15
On Friday morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., creator and owner of the high-profile event; Dick Clark Productions, which produces the show; and broadcaster NBC plan to announce that they have cobbled together a one-year agreement to jointly stage the annual awards fest at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 15.
The pact does little to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the long-term fate of the lucrative television rights to the popular telecast, which are at the center of a bitter feud between the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and Dick Clark Productions. But it does provide a temporary truce to give the producers and NBC time to prepare for the 2012 event while the two parties are poised to slug it out in court.
In November, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. sued Dick Clark Productions for trademark infringement and breach of contract. The press group, which has hosted the program since 1944 to honor achievement in movies and TV, claimed that Dick Clark Productions and its parent company Red Zone Capital tried to hijack the rights to the show by secretly cutting a low-ball renewal deal with NBC.
That agreement would have kept the program on the peacock network through 2018 -– but the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. insisted that the agreement was invalid, placing a huge question mark over next year’s production.
The two sides had been scheduled to go to trial this week but the case was postponed for at least a month because the judge fell ill. The one-year agreement does not affect the legal case, according to one person familiar with the situation.
For NBC, it was imperative to sew up the rights for the 2012 show so the network could sell commercial time on the program. Nominations for the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards will be announced Dec. 15.
“It would have been a big loss for NBC if that program didn’t air next year,” said Brad Adgate, research director for the ad-buying firm Horizon Media.
This year’s telecast of the Golden Globes -- which has become one of the top TV events of the year and can be a bellwether to the Academy Awards -- drew 17 million viewers, the largest audience in four years.
Advertisers spent $29.4 million buying time in January's Golden Globe telecast, according to Kantar Media, which tracks ad spending. The show has grown into a marquee event for advertisers to target fashion-conscious women, trend-setters and moviegoers. Beauty products maker L’Oreal, auto companies General Motors and Chrysler, and Microsoft Corp. were top advertisers this yr.
Commercial rates averaged $405,000 for a 30-second spot, according to the Nielsen Co.
“In terms of an advertising platform, the Golden Globes has become a solid second behind the Oscars,” said Jon Swallen, senior vice president for research for Kantar Media.
“The show brings a little pop and glitter into people’s homes on a cold January night, and it kicks off a nearly two-month period of high-profile advertising events that include the Super Bowl, the Grammys and the Oscars,” Swallen said. “Those events sustain television advertising in what otherwise would be the dog days of the first quarter.”
The one-year agreement could provide an opening for the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and Santa Monica-based Dick Clark Productions to reach an out-of-court settlement before the trial begins.
-- Meg James
Photo: Sofia Vergara on the Golden Globes' Red Carpet outside the Beverly Hilton in January. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times