UPDATE: Dick Clark Prods. just released a statement in response to HFPA’s lawsuit against it.”The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., knowing it has no case in a court of law, is attempting to try this case in the court of public opinion,” the statement said. “We are confident the case has no merit in either venue. Our respective rights under the contract are clear. The HFPA cannot unilaterally change the basis on which DCP and the HFPA have done business for almost three decades.”
PREVIOUS: This is a sudden and pretty nasty falling out between the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and Dick Clark Prods., which had been partnered on the Golden Globe Awards for the past two decades. The HFPA, the organization behind the awards, today filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Dick Clark Prods., the Red Zone Capital-owned company which produces the awards show. In the suit, filed this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, HFPA accuses DCP of “attempting to assume complete control over the rights to the show.” The complaint alleges that on Oct. 29, DCP secretly signed a new license agreement with NBC for the Golden Globe Awards that runs from 2012 through 2018 without consulting with the HFPA. “DCP acts as though it has unilateral right to license the broadcast rights for the Golden Globe Awards on whatever terms it pleases, without HFPA’s knowledge or authorization,” the suit said. DCP declined comment. Under the current agreement between HFPA and DCP, which expires after these coming Golden Globes, the production company gets 50% of the net profits from the telecast. The suit alleges that DCP signed the new deal with NBC “all behind HFPA’s back and all the while pretending to negotiate a new contract with HFPA,” for terms that HFPA believes undervalue the franchise. (The license fee from NBC reportedly starts at $17 million in 2012 and rises to $26 million in 2018). Other accusations include alleged DCP attempts to “steal” rights to the Golden Globes from HFPA to “exploit the Golden Globe-related marks, license the digital and other ancillary rights” without HFPA’s consent. The suit seeks damages as well as a preliminary and permanent injunction against DCP and Red Zone from using the Golden Globe trademarks for anything not related to coming show.