It looks like CBS CEO Les Moonves now won’t have to testify when the Golden Globes TV rights trial resumes Tuesday. Attorneys for both sides worked out an agreement over the weekend that Moonves’ videotaped deposition should suffice. If Judge A. Howard Matz agrees as expected, testimony from other witnesses will continue in the non-jury trial that began July 24th. Matz also agreed late Friday that Dick Clark would not have to testify beyond his videotaped deposition. Moonves has become a pivotal figure in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s lawsuit against Dick Clark Productions over Who controls TV rights to Golden Globes. The CBS CEO’s name came up multiple times during testimony last week concerning whether CBS was interested in bidding against NBC for rights to air the ceremony.
Former NBC West Coast Business Operations head Marc Graboff, who negotiated with DCP in 2010 for continued rights to broadcast the show, confirmed Friday Moonves figured in conversations over the new contract. Graboff said DCP CEO Mark Shapiro and WME’s Ari Emanuel, DCP’s agent at the time, told him that “if this goes to market, Les Moonves is willing to pay more than you.” Even so, Graboff laughed off the idea. “I hear that in every negotiation. Les Moonves is everybody’s favorite stalking horse.”
Graboff ended up making a deal for NBC to pay DCP $21.5 million annually until 2018 — more than double what the network had been paying.
DCP’s Shapiro under questioning Friday reiterated that his telling NBC he had to get HFPA’s approval for any negotiations with the network was simply “a negotiating tactic” and was not actually true. That is the crux of the lawsuit. HFPA contends that the organization has the right to open bidding for the Globes broadcast to other networks. DCP insists that an agreement reached with former HFPA officials that the production company retains that right in perpetuity.