Johnny Depp during the Golden Globes, which aired on NBC. (Handout/GETTY IMAGES)

The production company, which was purchased by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder in 2007, was sued in the fall of 2010 by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which created the annual trophy show. HFPA said it never agreed to let dcp, as the production company is called, negotiate a new NBC deal.

But dcp argued that it has the perpetual right to produce the show on NBC and that it did not need approval to broker a new deal with the network, because of an amendment to its deal with HFPA dating to the early ’90s, when Dick Clark still owned the company. Clark died last month.

Back then, Clark negotiated a multi-year deal to move the Globes from cable to NBC. The show was then being telecast on TBS after a stint in syndication and after a short run on CBS, where the show averaged 16 million to 22 million viewers in the early ‘80s, according to Nielsen. On TBS, it attracted an average audience of about 4 million.

(This past January, on NBC, the orgy of trophy-dispensing logged an average of nearly 17 million viewers. Such is the difference in the audience-amassing power of broadcast television and cable.)

The HFPA said that it never consented to the NBC arrangement and that if dcp prevailed, the association, in effect, would lose control of its extremely lucrative franchise.

In his 89-page ruling, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz said that the HFPA “suffered from the absence of sound, business-like practices,” while dcp “in contrast . . . acted in a consistently business-like fashion, and for almost all of the 27-year relationship it had with the HFPA before this suit was filed … was represented by one experienced executive who was adept at dealing fairly and effectively with the often amateurish conduct of HFPA.”


“My only sadness is that Dick wasn’t here to see the win,” dcp CEO Mark Shapiro said in a statement issued after the judge’s ruling.