Entertainment Industry

Category: Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Dick Clark Productions wins Golden Globes lawsuit

Sofia Vergara at Golden Globes

Dick Clark Productions has won its legal fight against the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. over the television rights for the Golden Globe Awards show.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., owner of the Golden Globe Awards, had sued Dick Clark Productions, the program's longtime producer, over a $150-million deal DCP had struck in 2010 to keep the show on NBC through 2018. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The HFPA claimed that DCP had entered into that agreement without the association's approval and thus had violated the contract.

DCP, owned since 2007 by Red Zone Capital Management Co., a private equity firm controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, countered that a 1993 amendment to its almost 30-year-old agreement with HFPA to produce the show gave it the right to renegotiate with NBC without the association's approval.

In a rebuke to the HFPA, not only did Judge Howard Matz side with Dick Clark Productions, he also said that what was essentially a contract dispute should have never ended up in a courtroom and that the HFPA "suffered from the absence of sound, businesslike practices."

Matz went on to say the parade of HFPA presidents and board members who testified at the trial "proved to be of little, if any, value to the court."

HFPA had unsuccessfully tried to argue that the 1993 amendment did not give DCP the rights to the Golden Globes in perpetuity as long as the program remained on NBC. HFPA was hoping to get back the TV rights to the show and shop it to a rival network. In a video deposition, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said his network would have been willing to pay at least $25 million a year for the show, almost $4 million more than NBC's average fee.

In his 89-page ruling, Matz said that both parties understood the meaning of the 1993 amendment and that DCP had not acted in bad faith.

The bench trial, which ran roughly three weeks in January, featured testimony from several high-profile industry executives. In addition to Moonves and DCP Chief Executive Mark Shapiro, people who provided testimony either in person or through depositions included former NBC Entertainment business head Marc Graboff and even Dick Clark, who died this month.

"So much litigation over 12 words, but we are incredibly thankful that our clients' rights have been vindicated. Judge Matz's decision was extremely thorough and well thought out," said Martin Katz of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, who was the lead attorney for DCP.

A spokesman for the HFPA and the association's legal counsel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Golden Globes trial ends; decision now rests with judge

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With the two sides hopelessly deadlocked, a federal judge now must determine who controls the lucrative television rights to the Golden Globes Awards show.

Before a packed courtroom in downtown Los Angeles, lawyers representing the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which owns the Golden Globes, and Dick Clark Productions, which has produced the annual extravaganza for nearly 30 years, wrapped up their three-week trial with closing arguments  Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge A. Howard Matz had urged the sides to try to settle the case before Friday's finale -- but the parties remained at loggerheads.

At issue is the validity of a 2010 agreement that Dick Clark Productions struck with NBC that would keep the Golden Globes on the network through 2018 -- a deal worth as much as $150 million.  

But soon after that pact was announced, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. cried foul. The group sued Dick Clark Productions, contending that the production firm lacked the authority to enter into a new TV contract without its consent. 

Dick Clark Productions, meanwhile, maintains that a pivotal section of a 1993 contract gave the firm latitude to renew its TV licensing agreement as long as NBC remained the television broadcast partner.  Dick Clark Productions was acquired in 2007 by Red Zone Capital Management Co., a private equity firm controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Matz must now interpret the 1993 agreement. If he sides with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the organization could shop the deal to other networks and launch a bidding war.  

His decision is not expected for several weeks.

"It's going to take some time before I can get back to this," Matz said immediately after declaring the end of the trial. Then he complimented the legal teams, saying: "This case has been handled very professionally and I am grateful for that." 

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Judge urges Dick Clark Prods. and HFPA to settle Globes fight

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As the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and Dick Clark Productions wrapped up their respective arguments in the legal battle over who controls the television rights to the Golden Globes awards show, the judge in the case implored both sides to settle the case before he makes his decision.

"The framework to a settlement is not difficult to envision," said U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz on Tuesday. The bench trial has run just over two weeks and closing arguments are scheduled for Friday. Matz said both sides have taken their best shots, and he directed the lawyers to go back to their respective clients and try to reach a peace agreement.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. filed suit against Dick Clark Productions in 2010 after the latter entered into a new $150-million agreement to keep the Golden Globes Awards show on NBC through 2018. The HFPA has charged that Dick Clark Productions made the deal without proper authorization as  part of an overall plot by the production company to steal control of the glitzy annual awards ceremony.

Dick Clark Productions countered that a 1993 amendment to its almost 30-year-old agreement with the HFPA to produce the show gave it the right to renegotiate with NBC without the association's approval.

Matz, who praised both sides for their presentations, said he has been "puzzled" as to why the two parties haven't tried to negotiate a settlement.

"Each side has taken their best shot," he said, adding that if he rules, there is "not going to be a compromise."

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Tensions with partners of Golden Globes broadcast are nothing new

Dagmar DunlevyThe relationship between the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and Dick Clark Productions -- partners in the television broadcast of the Golden Globes Awards show -- started to sour long before the two sides ended up in court, a former president of the association testified Tuesday.

As far back as 2002, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (HFPA), which created and owns the Golden Globes, wanted to restructure its agreement with Dick Clark Productions (DCP) that called for the two to split profits from the show equally and gave the production company TV rights to the program.

The sides are currently fighting over a 2010 deal worth about $150 million that DCP made with NBC to keep the Globes on the network through 2018. The HFPA, whose membership is composed of about 80 journalists who write about entertainment for foreign publications, filed a suit soon after learning of that agreement.

The association charged that the contract with NBC was entered into without the HFPA's approval, violates the terms of their almost 30-year-old partnership and greatly undervalues the monetary worth of the annual awards show.

DCP, now owned by  Red Zone Capital, a private equity firm controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, has countered that a 1993 amendment to its agreement with HFPA allows it to negotiate TV rights deals for the show without approval as long as the show remains on NBC.

Dagmar Dunlevy, who was HFPA president in 2002, first raised questions about the fairness and legality of the arrangement in 2002, about a year after DCP had renewed the NBC deal through 2010. Testifying in court Thursday, Dunlevy confirmed that in a deposition she gave prior to the start of the trial she called the partnership a "lousy deal" for the HFPA and acknowledged problems with a perpetuity clause that DCP believes gives it control of the TV rights as long as NBC airs the program.

"We're not Elvis and Colonel Parker," she cracked.

When DCP and the HFPA first teamed up in 1983, the show had lost much of its credibility. The Federal Communications Commission had chastised the HFPA for how it handed out its awards in the late 1960s, resulting in the program being dropped by network television for several years.

When it returned briefly in the 1980s, it wasn't long before another embarrassment -- the handing out of an award to entertainer Pia Zadora -- once again had the networks running away from the show.

DCP soon struck a deal with the TBS cable channel. It delivered solid ratings and in 1993 NBC entered an agreement to take over the show starting in 1996. The return to network television was considered a major breakthrough for the HFPA and a few years later the association began to wonder if its deal with DCP was fair.

"The starlet had become a star," Dunlevy said.

The HFPA started scrutinizing the relationship soon after DCP was sold from Clark to Mosaic Media in 2002 (Redzone acquired it in 2007). Counsel for DCP suggested that HFPA was angered that it hadn't been briefed on the sale prior to the announcement, which Dunlevy did not deny. 

Not long after the sale of DCP was announced, Dunlevy hired a new lawyer to go through the contract. She did so, she said, after determining that the HFPA's then-counsel was not up for the task and that the agreement with DCP was "way over and above the understanding of a group of journalists." That lawyer argued that DCP's 2001 deal with NBC was invalid. However, the two managed to patch up their relationship and NBC kept hold of the show.

In 2010, however, HFPA told DCP that it wanted to renegotiate the terms of its partnership. While there were some initial talks between the two, little progress was made. Later that year, DCP started negotiating a new extension with NBC.

DCP President Mark Shapiro previously testified that he renewed the deal with NBC in 2010 while keeping the HFPA in the dark because of his belief that the agreement between the two did not require him getting their approval.

In its case, the HFPA is trying to establish that not only is the interpretation of the 1993 amendment incorrect by DCP, but that even if DCP did have the TV rights in perpetuity as long as the Globes remained on NBC, it still needed the approval of the association before a renewal.

Although Dick Clark did not take the stand, parts of a deposition he gave in May were read into the record. Clark, who is ailing, said at one point while being questioned by counsel from HFPA that he "assumed" the HFPA had to agree to the 2001 renewal with NBC. Later when being questioned by lawyers for DCP, he said he had "no idea" if HFPA approved of the 2001 extension other than through the 1993 amendment.

The bench trial is expected to wrap up later this week.

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Ex-HFPA president backs Dick Clark Productions in Globes fight

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A steadfast Mirjana Van Blaricom, who was president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. in 1993 when it renewed what is now a contested television rights contract with Dick Clark Productions, testified Friday that the HFPA knew all the details of the deal at the time it was signed.

Those details include an amendment that Dick Clark Productions believes gives it the rights to produce the HFPA-owned Golden Globes awards show in perpetuity as long as the program remains on NBC. In 2010, HFPA sued Dick Clark Productions after the latter signed a renewal agreement worth $150 million that keeps the Golden Globes on NBC through 2018. The HFPA alleged that its agreement with Dick Clark Productions did not give DCP the right to renew the deal without the association's approval. Dick Clark Productions countered that the amendment gave it the right.

The amendment was put into the contract with HFPA at the time Dick Clark Productions, now owned by Red Zone Capital, first landed a deal with NBC for the Golden Globes. The NBC pact was a big coup for the show and the HFPA. Prior to that, the awards program had been on the TBS cable channel and earlier was syndicated nationally.

"We were in a very bad corner at the time," Van Blaricom testified in court Friday. The show had been dropped by NBC in the late 1960s after the FCC chastised the HFPA over how it chose winners. It got back on network TV -- CBS -- in the early 1980s only to be dropped again after Pia Zadora was given an award as "newcomer of the year."

Dick Clark Productions entered the picture in 1983, forming a partnership with HFPA designed to return some luster to the show and eventually return it to broadcast television.

The HFPA is trying to make the case that not only is DCP's interpretation of the contract wrong, but that the membership was not aware of the significance of the amendment at the time the agreement was signed. It has also been suggested that Van Blaricom, who is no longer associated with the HFPA, signed off on the contract without proper approval.

Van Blaricom, who at times was combative in court with Daniel Petrocelli, the O'Melveny & Myers lawyer handling the HFPA's case, said both she and the HFPA knew the meaning of that amendment.

"Nobody complained about the contract, everyone was ecstatic," Van Blaricom said, adding that while the perpetuity amendment was not "specifically discussed, but it was understood." The main concern of the HFPA at that time, Van Blaricom said, was that the organization avoid any more scandals or controversies that could jeopardize its pact with NBC.

Van Blaricom, who left the HFPA in the mid-1990s after clashing with other members, has no love lost for the organization.

"Hollywood Foreign Press is something I want to forget," she said on the stand.

The bench trial, which is taking place in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, is expected to wrap next week. It is still not clear if Dick Clark himself will testify in person or if only his deposition will be used.

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HFPA's Berk testifies in Globes trial, contradicts CBS' Moonves

HFPA Phil Berk testified at the Golden Globes trialPhilip Berk, the current chairman and former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and a key witness in the organization's legal battle against Dick Clark Productions over who controls the television rights to the Golden Globes said in court Thursday that he's "never really been interested in contracts."

In his testimony, not only did Berk say he was not in the habit of scrutinizing contracts during his last few decades as a top-ranking HFPA executive, he also seemed to contradict himself at times during questioning from Dick Clark Productions' legal team and gave a version of events regarding a meeting he had with CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves that contrasted Moonves' account.

The HFPA and Dick Clark Productions are fighting over a 1993 amendment to their nearly 30-year-old partnership on the Golden Globes. In late 2010, Dick Clark Productions struck a deal worth approximately $150 million to keep the show on NBC through 2018. The HFPA, when Berk was president, quickly filed a suit charging that its agreement with Dick Clark Productions did not give DCP the right to renew the deal with NBC without the association's approval. Dick Clark Productions countered that the amendment gave it the right to renew the show with NBC in perpetuity.

Berk was on the stand for the second day in the bench trial being held in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Part of the debate centers around when the HFPA became aware of how Dick Clark Productions was interpreting the amendment. Berk has testified that it was not until 2002 that he concluded that Dick Clark Productions thought it had a perpetuity clause.

But Dick Clark Productions has countered that the HFPA knew or should have known much earlier and that Berk himself was aware of it in 1997 at the latest. Attorney Bradley Phillips of Munger, Tolles & Olson, who is representing Dick Clark Productions, cited a letter found during evidence discovery that had been sent to Berk from then-HFPA lawyer Eric Weissman with a copy of the amendment.

Berk said he did not recall that letter. He also said he did not recall some minutes to an undated HFPA meeting where the amendment was debated even though he was quoted saying a legal fight over it could be long and the outcome doubtful. "I don't remember the meeting," Berk said.

With regard to Moonves, Berk said on the stand the CBS chief executive called him to discuss a deal to move the Globes away from NBC to CBS and the two had lunch in July 2010 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. He said that when he was at the lunch he did not ask Moonves to make an offer but then minutes later seemed to contradict himself by testifying that as the lunch was wrapping up he asked the CBS chief for a "ballpark figure" for the show. Berk said he asked him that "off the record" and said he did not recall any additional discussions with Moonves.

In a video deposition, Moonves contradicted Berk on several points. He said it was Berk that called him for the meeting and that soon after the CBS executive gave that estimate of what his network might pay to get the show, Berk called back for more discussions about a deal.

Berk also seemed to contradict himself with regard to how closely the HFPA follows its own rules. He testified that it was typical that the president and the treasurer signed contracts and other important documents and that the HFPA seal was also routinely affixed to such documents.

However, Dick Clark Productions' legal team showed examples where that procedure was not followed and even one where an outside counsel to the HFPA signed a document on behalf of Berk.

Berk said with regard to that particular document that he was not aware of it until Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton lawyer Marty Katz, representing Dick Clark Productions, showed it to him.

The trial is expected to wrap up next week.

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CBS chief Leslie Moonves was interested in Golden Globes

Last week, former NBC executive Marc Graboff said that he thought NBC got a bad deal in 2010 when the network agreed to pay an average annual fee of $21.5 million to keep the Golden Globes.

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves agreed that it was a bad deal, but not for NBC. Moonves thought the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which owns the Golden Globes and Dick Clark Productions, which produces the show for the network, could have done better with him.

In a deposition taken by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as part of its legal battle with Dick Clark Productions over who controls the television rights to the show, Moonves confirmed he was willing to pay at least $25 million for the show. Upon learning that NBC was keeping the awards program for less money, Moonves said he told Debby Barak, the network's executive vice president of business operations, "God, they got a bad deal."

Dick Clark Productions and the HFPA are in the second week of their trial in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles. HFPA filed a suit in 2010 against Dick Clark Productions, contending that the deal Dick Clark Productions struck with NBC to keep the Globes on the network though 2018 violated their partnership agreement and was done without their approval. Dick Clark Productions has countered that per its agreement with the HFPA, it did not need the association's permission to renew with NBC.

Moonves' assessment of the value of the Globes seems to contradict Graboff's thoughts on the worth of the show. In testimony, Graboff acknowledged emailing then NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and NBCUniversal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin that "this is the kind of deal we shouldn't rush to make." NBC's "butts were kicked," Graboff said in his pretrial deposition referring to the negotiations for the Globes with Dick Clark Productions.

Moonves' written and video testimony has been submitted, but the judge in the bench trial -- A. Howard Matz -- has not yet decided whether he will allow it. Lawyers for Dick Clark Productions have objected to Moonves' testimony because they say the issues in the case are about the contract between the two parties and not what CBS said it might have paid for the show.

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NBC overpaid for Golden Globes, former top exec says

A former top executive at NBC said he thought the network overpaid for the Golden Globes in 2010 when it signed a long-term deal to keep the awards show on its network.

Marc Graboff, who until recently was NBC's president of West Coast business operations, testified Friday that he warned his bosses at the network that the price tag for the Golden Globes, which ended up being an average of $21.5 million per show, was too high.

Marc Graboff appeared at the Golden Globes trial"This is the kind of deal we shouldn't rush to make," Graboff emailed then NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and NBCUniversal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin in the summer of 2010 when the network was negotiating with Dick Clark Productions on a new deal for the show.

Graboff was testifying in the legal battle over who controls the television rights for the Golden Globes between the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which owns the Globes, and Dick Clark Productions, the longtime producer of the awards show. In 2010, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (HFPA) sued Dick Clark Productions over the NBC agreement, charging that the production company did not have the authorization to enter into the agreement without the association's approval. The bench trial is being heard in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Dick Clark Productions has countered that it believes that a 1993 amendment to its almost 30-year-old partnership with the HFPA gives it control of the television rights to the Golden Globes as long as the show remains on NBC. Furthermore, Dick Clark Productions, which is owned by Red Zone Capital, a private equity fund controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, has said HFPA's approval is not necessary for any renewal of NBC's deal for the show.

Graboff was appearing to retell how the negotiations for the 2010 deal played out. Earlier in the week, Dick Clark Productions Chief Executive Officer Mark Shapiro acknowledged giving Graboff and NBC the impression that the HFPA did have final approval over any new television deal. Shapiro said he did that because he gambled that using HFPA as a "higher authority" would give him leverage with Graboff. Shapiro did not say he outright lied to Graboff, opting instead to call it a "negotiating strategy."

Mark shapiro testified at the Golden Globes trialIt seemed to have worked as NBC ended up agreeing to the average annual rights fee of $21.5 million to keep the show on the network through 2018. NBC wanted additional rights for the Golden Globes, including for the red carpet preshow that airs before the ceremony.

However, Dick Clark Productions did not have the right to negotiate that deal without HFPA approval so Shapiro, much to NBC's chagrin, refused to cut a deal that include both the main event and the preshow.

NBC's "butts were kicked," Graboff said in his pretrial deposition referring to the negotiations with Shapiro and Dick Clark Productions.

For the second consecutive day, the subject of CBS becoming a bidder for the Golden Globes emerged as a topic of discussion. On Thursday, it was revealed that in 2010 then-HFPA President Philip Berk had met with CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves to discuss the show moving to CBS. It has been suggested that Moonves, who will either offer written testimony or appear in person next week, said he was willing to pay between $25 million and $30 million for the Golden Globes.

NBC's Graboff said Shapiro and WME talent agent Ari Emanuel, who was working with Dick Clark Productions, also implied that NBC should hurry up and renew the Globes because CBS was out there with an open wallet. Graboff said that wasn't a factor in NBC's negotiations.

"Les Moonves is everybody's favorite stalking horse," Graboff cracked.

Graboff was asked by Judge Howard Matz if he would have signed off on the deal with Shapiro if HFPA had reached out to him and explained that the association was at odds with Dick Clark Productions over their current agreement.

"We would've stopped it," Graboff said referring to the negotiations with Shapiro.

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Golden Globes trial reveals art of negotiations

When it comes to getting a television deal done, the rule is that there are no rules.

That was the takeaway from Day 3 of the legal battle over who controls the television rights to the Golden Globe Awards show. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and Dick Clark Productions — partners on the Golden Globes for almost 30 years — are fighting in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles over a 2010 deal that Dick Clark Productions struck to keep the awards show on NBC through 2018. The HFPA sued Dick Clark Productions soon after it learned of the pact, charging that Dick Clark Productions didn't have the authority to renew with NBC because the association had not given it approval.

Mark shapiro testified at the Golden Globes trialThroughout the trial, Dick Clark Productions — now owned by Red Zone Capital, a private equity firm headed by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder — has emphasized its belief that a 1993 amendment to the agreement with the HFPA gave the production company the TV rights to the Golden Globes as long as the show is on NBC. On top of that, the HFPA's approval was not necessary for any renewal of NBC's deal for the show, per Dick Clark Productions' understanding of their partnership.

But if telling NBC that HFPA approval was necessary before any new deal could be sealed would help drive up the price, then Dick Clark Productions Chief Executive Mark Shapiro had no problems with that. Under questioning by HFPA counsel Linda Smith of O'Melveny & Myers, Shapiro acknowledged misleading NBC's then-head of business affairs, Marc Graboff, with regards to the role he believed HFPA could play on approving a deal. 

"You repeatedly told them you needed HFPA approval," Smith asked Shapiro of his negotiations with NBC in the fall of 2010.

"That is correct," Shapiro replied, adding that he used the HFPA as a "higher authority" because he thought it would give him leverage with Graboff. Shapiro avoided using the word "lie" when testifying about his dealings with NBC and Graboff, preferring the phrase "negotiating strategy."

He also noted that in January 2010, HFPA member and former president Judy Solomon had told Shapiro that the organization wanted at least $20 million a year from NBC for the Globes and his deal with NBC resulted in an average annual rights fee of $21.5 million.

The idea that executives sometimes bluff or mislead the people they are negotiating with to get a better deal is hardly an earth-shattering revelation, but it is rare that such behavior is explained in a court of law.

As Shapiro was conducting his negotiations with NBC and keeping the HFPA out of the loop, the HFPA was doing the same to him with CBS, which apparently was interested in stealing the Globes away from NBC.

CBS CEO Les Moonves may appear at the Golden Globes trialThe topic of CBS wanting the Golden Globes surfaced several times during Thursday's testimony. Smith asked Shapiro if he had ever talked with CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves about acquiring the TV rights for the Globes. Shapiro said that in early 2010 he and Moonves had a very informal discussion about the status of the rights for the Globes. Asked in court if he was aware that CBS was willing to offer between $25 million and $30 million a year for the show, Shapiro said, "of course not" and also added that the agreement Dick Clark Productions had with the HFPA precluded negotiating with anyone except NBC.

Martin Katz (of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP), who is representing Dick Clark Productions in the case, asked Shapiro about a lunch that Philip Berk, who was president of the HFPA in 2010, had that summer with Moonves. The lunch, Katz seemed to suggest, was part of an HFPA plan to get the show away from NBC and Dick Clark Productions to CBS.

Asked by Katz if Berk and HFPA were within their legal rights to pitch the show to CBS, Shapiro said he doubted that was the case. Katz then read from the agreement between Dick Clark Productions and HFPA that confirmed that the association was not authorized to discuss a TV deal with a third party.

Much of Thursday's testimony focused on the state of relations between the HFPA and Dick Clark Productions in 2010. The two sides were unsuccessfully trying to renegotiate the terms of their partnership. The HFPA wanted to gut the amendment that Dick Clark Productions claims gives the company control of the TV rights in perpetuity as long as the show remains on NBC and to lower the 50-50 split.

Shapiro said Dick Clark Productions was willing to alter the split and give up the perpetuity amendment if it got at least a 20-year deal from the HFPA to continue to produce the show and a host of other rights to the Golden Globes. Early in 2010 Berk emailed Shapiro saying the producer was not to "seek or agree to any subsequent broadcast licensing agreement with NBC." Shapiro said he would "never make a move on a network renewal."

However, as the year dragged on and the two sides could not come to an agreement on changes to the partnership, Dick Clark Productions started negotiating a renewal with NBC. It did so primarily because if NBC's window to renew the Globes lapsed — which would have happened shortly after the 2011 awards show — Dick Clark Productions' deal to produce the show would be gone too.

Shapiro said in court that his response to Berk was not "meant to represent any legal obligations" that he thought Dick Clark Productions had to the HFPA with regards to keeping it up to speed on any new deal with NBC.

In an email to William Morris Endeavor partner Ari Emanuel, whose agency works with Dick Clark Productions on the Golden Globes, Shapiro expressed frustration with the HFPA in relation to his efforts to renew a deal with NBC.

"Jeff knows these people are crazy," Shapiro wrote to Emanuel, referring to then-NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker.

The case resumes Friday with more questioning for Shapiro, who is a member of the Times' parent company Tribune Co.'s board of directors. Graboff is also expected to appear Friday, and next week CBS' Moonves could take the stand.

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HFPA was perceived as joke, former Dick Clark executive says

Uggie the dog on the Globes red carpetThe Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., owner of the Golden Globe Awards, was "considered somewhat a joke," before Dick Clark Productions partnered with the association on the television show, a former top executive at the company testified Wednesday.

Fran LaMaina, the retired president and chief operating officer of Dick Clark Productions, said the perception of the HFPA was that of a "scandalous organization" whose "votes were bought" back in the early 1980s. LaMaina made his statements during the second day of a legal battle going on between HFPA and Dick Clark Productions in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles over who controls the TV rights to the annual awards show.

He was referring to a scandal in the late 1960s over how the HFPA selected winners for the Golden Globes that drove the show off of network television after the Federal Communications Commission said the association was misleading viewers. The show, which about a decade later reappeared on television, was ridiculed in the early 1980s for giving entertainer Pia Zadora an award.

"Dick Clark's reputation was the antithesis of the HFPA," LaMaina said. He added that Dick Clark and his production company would need to rebuild the Golden Globes to bring it some credibility. He was being questioned by attorney Marty Katz (of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP), who is representing Dick Clark Productions in the case.

The two sides are debating the meaning of a 1993 amendment to their partnership agreement, which is almost 30 years old. Dick Clark Productions, now owned by Red Zone Capital, a private equity firm headed by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, claims the amendment gives it the power to negotiate a new TV deal with NBC, the longtime home of the Globes, without HFPA approval.

"The contract says no such thing," said Daniel Petrocelli, the O'Melveny & Myers lawyer who is representing the HFPA, in his opening remarks on Tuesday. The HFPA wanted to shop the show to other networks to drive up the license fee.

The actions of Dick Clark Productions prevented "the rights from being sold to the highest bidder," Petrocelli said, adding that the suggestion that the HFPA would have signed an agreement that would allow that "defies common sense."

The HFPA has accused Dick Clark Productions, which is now headed by Mark Shapiro, a former top executive at ESPN with long ties to Snyder, of trying to steal control of the glitzy event at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

On Tuesday, Petrocelli questioned LaMaina and tried to suggest that the former top lieutenant to Dick Clark had misled the HFPA on the significance of the 1993 amendment.

"I don't think I misled the Hollywood Foreign Press," LaMaina said Tuesday, adding that explaining the amendment wasn't his job.

In his opening remarks, Katz suggested the reason for the trial is that there are factions of the HFPA who want to change the deal and have wanted out of the agreement since Dick Clark Productions was sold to Mosaic Media Group in 2004. Red Zone acquired DCP in 2007.

The trial is expected to last a few weeks, and other witnesses include Mark Shapiro and former NBC business affairs chief Marc Graboff.

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