Programming

WGA STRIKE UPDATE: NBC Pulls Plug on Golden Globe Awards

Threat of Picket Line Forces Hollywood Foreign Press Association to Go Low-Key for 2008 Golden Globe Awards 1/07/2008 01:00:00 PM Eastern

NBC pulled the plug on its traditional Golden Globe Awards telecast scheduled for this Sunday, swapping it out for an hour-long live newscast to air at 6 p.m. (PST) in which the winners in 25 film and TV categories will be announced.

Golden Globe Award

Discussions on the show’s fate continued until late Monday afternoon, busting NBC’s planned midday deadline to announce a decision, with the network and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which decides the awards' winners, trying to work out a stripped-down version of the show produced out of NBC’s news division. NBC News writers are covered under a different contract from those in the entertainment division and are not on strike.

The show will forgo the Globes’ traditional Beverly Hilton ballroom glitz for an hour-long live telecast in which winners will be announced.

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

Talks surfaced during the day that wanted to lead the show with a red-carpet procession and follow it with the Globes’ traditional parties. Winners could decide whether to give reaction statements from a press room. It was unclear as of Monday how much of that would happen.

Talks were tense over the weekend. The HFPA had wanted NBC to yank the broadcast to pave the way for stars to attend the event. Were it broadcast on TV per usual, the Writers Guild of America said it would picket the show, preventing most stars from attending. After the WGA refused to grant the show a waiver, the Screen Actors Guild said its members would not present or accept awards if they had to cross picket lines to do so.

Canceling the show entirely and losing its advertising would have meant a financial setback of up to $20 million for NBC, hence its efforts to create some version of the awards show to salvage for air. The network pays the HFPA a license fee of some $6 million for the rights to air the show.

As of this weekend, tables for the awards dinner were still sold out and Globes producer and co-owner Dick Clark Productions was prepping for the show, despite the fact that several big public-relations firms said their talent clients would not attend. But the company released a statement saying that it had asked the WGA to enter an agreement like the one it reached with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants to enable CBS' two late-night shows to resume, and the WGA refused the request.

Over the weekend, NBC was considering several options, including postponing the show. But the HFPA resisted that for fear that airing the Globes too late would strip it of its standing as awards season’s premiere event and the stage-setter for the Academy Awards. The network has aired the Globes since 1996. They have been telecast annually since 1980.

For full coverage of the strike, click here.

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