Writers' Strike Forces the Golden Globe Awards to Roll Up This Year's Red Carpet

By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, January 8, 2008

At the end of a day in which the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBC scrambled to find a way to salvage the broadcast of the annual Golden Globe Awards, the HFPA issued a statement saying the trophy show had been canceled and winners would be announced Sunday night in a one-hour news conference to be covered live by NBC.

The network will lose out on a lot of ads it had sold for the three-hour trophy show telecast. On the other hand, it no longer owes the HFPA the $5 million or so fee for broadcast rights.

"We are all very disappointed that our traditional awards ceremony will not take place this year and that millions of viewers worldwide will be deprived of seeing many of their favorite stars celebrating 2007's outstanding achievements in motion pictures and television," HFPA President Jorge Camara said in the statement.

"We take some comfort, however, in knowing that this year's Golden Globe Award recipients will be announced on the date originally scheduled."

NBC had been working on a plan to turn the Globes broadcast from the orgy of excess brought to you by Dick Clark Productions into a "news conference" -- covered exclusively by NBC News -- in which actors and directors pick up their trophies.

This, the network hoped, would make it okay for Hollywood A-listers to put on their red dresses and show up, and for Hollywood writers to put down their strike placards and go home.

NBC's coverage would take the form of a 7 p.m. "Dateline" special featuring clips of nominated programs and interviews with nominees, followed by an 8 p.m. Golden Globes retrospective clip job from Dick Clark's company, the 9 p.m. "news conference" announcing the winners, to be followed possibly by a program covering the booze-fueled post-Golden Globes parties.

But late yesterday only the news conference was announced, with no plans for A-list talent to attend.

And if the writers picket, the stars won't show -- that was the word handed down last Friday when the Screen Actors Guild, which represents all those A-list celebs who do so much to make the Globes the ratings magnet it is, announced its members would not cross a Writers Guild of America picket line at the Globes, which are held at the Hilton in Beverly Hills. Soon after SAG's announcement, a batch of PR firms in town sent a letter to NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker saying they'd discussed the situation with their clients and had concluded the "vast majority of the talent we represent are not comfortable with crossing a picket line," which was redundant but, yes, got the names of the PR firms into the trade papers -- nicely done, publicists!

Then, WGA West President Patric M. Verrone issued a happy-dance statement saying, "The entire awards show season is being put in jeopardy by the intransigence of a few big media corporations."

Technically, this was not correct. Last night's Critics' Choice Awards on VH1 went on as usual, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, on TBS and TNT, are proceeding as planned on Sunday, Jan. 27.

That's because the WGA has decided not to picket either show.

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