The AMPTP set up a new website tonight labeled WeWantTheAwards.com. Its mission? “Please urge the Writers Guild to allow the awards shows to go on as planned.” This is what happens when the WGA hits a nerve among the entertainment establishment and when an out-of-town PR firm hired by the AMPTP gets something terribly wrong. Because the truth as we all know it is that most of Hollywood dreads every awards show, hates all the hassle involved, and would love nothing better than to not attend.
Only people who don’t know anything about showbiz could think this town would go into withdrawal if, say, the Golden Globes show wasn’t held. True, that phony baloney spectacle in the past has proven a valuable marketing tool for the studios and networks pushing their movies and TV series (even if the Hollywood Foreign Press Association behind it is bogus and ethically challenged). But last time I looked, scripted TV will be off the air any day now for the forseeable future. And the films already can boast Globes nominations in their advertisements so it can’t really matter which won or which lost because now every pic looks like a potential winner. Besides, I’ll gladly take talent and producers and even writers at their word that all this competition is meaningless. So what’s the problem?
I’m sure the owners of the fashion labels, and the limo companies, and the hotel ballrooms, and all the other ancillary businesses that depend on the awards shows for business are right now wringing their hands and understandably so. But the reality is that every studio and network (often one and the same thanks to media consolidation) are still gonna be stuck with their already rented space for their Golden Globe parties, including the catering and florist bills etc, whether or not the awards show is held. And, anyway, the AMPTP can’t be concerned about the impact of the strike on the local economy or else it wouldn’t have been a no-showat the LA City Council hearing on that very subject.
The big loser will be NBC, whose parent company GE/NBC Universal is one of the 8 Big Media companies that make up the AMPTP. The same is true of the Oscars broadcaster ABC, whose parent company Walt Disney. Surely, it’s no surprise to the AMPTP that the WGA wants to hurt Big Media financially. But trust the AMPTP to over-react.
The organization trotted out the respected David L. Wolper to put his name on a Variety letter comparing the WGA’s “boycott” of the Golden Globes and Oscars to America’s boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. (This is uncomfortably reminiscent of the time Miramax secretly penned an endorsement of its Gangs of New York director Martin Scorsese and attributed it to filmmaker Robert Wise. I’m sorry to say this, because Wolper has always been lovely to me, but his article is crapola. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The writers didn’t even picket Brentwood.
For the AMPTP to expect a groundswell of Internet anger aimed at the WGA for threatening the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards is naive not to mention downright laughable. The ratings for these shows keep going down almost every year so the public doesn’t much care. Especially when the only excitement during the evening is the lame possibility that a nominee will be declared the winner while he/she is in the bathroom.
Right now, just thinking that the Golden Globes might get cancelled has a lot of the Hollywood moguls muttering “Thanks, WGA,” under their breaths. (I know this because I’ve heard a few say that already this week.) And agents, managers, journalists, etc.
But here’s an excellent idea: perhaps if the AMPTP went back to the bargaining table and began real negotiations instead of just delivered ultimatums, the WGA might relent. Then maybe the Back 9 of the TV season wouldn’t be lost. Or the 2008/2009 pilot season. Or the movies slated to come out in 2010. Or the below-the-line workers and everyone else associated with Hollywood have a rotten holiday. Now that’s worth a website.