It's 6 a.m. and staffers from Dick Clark Productions, having just wrapped up their part in the 62nd Annual Golden Globes nominations, are waiting for the call from the boss.
They're well aware that much of the West Coast is still asleep and that 75-year-old Clark is recovering from a mild stroke. “Believe me, he's watching us today from his hospital bed, and we'll be getting the feedback,” says Barry Adelman, Clark's second in command. Clark's company will produce the glittering awards show for NBC on Sunday Jan. 16. Nominations were announced Monday Dec. 13.
Adelman is sure his boss will approve their pre-dawn efforts, but, he says, “it's different when he's not here, because he's such an amazing presence. But he taught us well. It went smoothly.”
To the casual observer, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual early-morning ritual of naming the brightest stars in this year's film and television constellations is a simple affair: Book the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Grab a few celebrities like Brendan Frasier, Mira Sorvino and Drea De Matteo. Have them read off a few lists of names: “Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives. Teri Hatcher, Desperate Housewives. Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives.” Hear the room erupt in astonished laughter as the ABC tongue-in-cheek drama becomes the story of the day with five nods, including three in the best-actress category.
E! Entertainment and the Today show cover the nominations live. HFPA also makes a live satellite feed available, “so anyone from anywhere in the world can pull the nominations off the satellite,” explains Steve Locascio, the organization's publicity director. Organizers put together 100 reporters, 29 television crews and 125 publicists, and then let the name-dropping begin.
Simple? The selling of the Golden Globes is, in fact, a highly choreographed, time-sensitive operation that sets in motion the awards-show season. The technical crews worry over the possibility of transmissions' going dark and the loss of sound or power. “That's why I bring my own generator,” says E!'s Brian Quacquarini, technical manager of live events. “And we've done three rehearsals since midnight to make sure the mikes work.”
Others worry about their verbal skills at such an ungodly hour. The timing is a necessity because the awards get the exposure from the Today show at 8:40 a.m. ET—and that makes it easy for HFPA to live with the three-hour time difference.
“It's the earliest I've ever had to get up,” says Madison Michele, a reporter from the TV Guide Channel who fell out of bed at 3 a.m. Michele is sneaking a peek at the E! News team, which includes newlywed and red-carpet diva Star Jones Reynolds, to see how the awards-show veterans handle their 5 a.m. pre-nomination live chats. “I actually wanted to see how much is on the prompter and how much they ad-lib,” says Michele. “They do ad-lib, but they take it slow. And I need to do that, because otherwise, you have a tendency to trip up on your words.”
Says E! anchor Giuliana DePandi, “People ask me, 'Are you really all that concerned about doing the Globe nominations when it's on so early in the morning?' Yes, because everyone in the industry, everyone you've ever come across on the red carpet, every potential future employer is watching this show. And they know when you've screwed up.”
The room packed with rumpled, bleary-eyed camera crews trying to focus in on chic, perfectly coiffed and made-up TV reporters is a strange sight. E! makeup artist Marylin Lee says the talent in her charge is “pretty wide-awake and wired by the time they come to me. I think it's the adrenaline of having to get up so early in the morning. They might need some eye-drops for red eyes.”
Jones Reynolds, resplendent in a red suit and gold shoes, needs no such camouflage. “I'm a very disciplined girl when I need to be,” she says. “I was in bed by 8 o'clock last night and put ice on my face in the morning.”
Bonnie Tiegel, Entertainment Tonight senior supervising producer, finds it “very exciting. We have crews in place all over the country to get reactions to the nominations. As soon as the announcements are done, I'm out the door and usually booking stuff in the car as I'm driving back to Paramount. … It's the beginning of the season!”