UPDATED: Judge Howard A. Matz has found in favor of defendant Dick Clark Productions in the trial with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association over who owns TV rights to the Golden Globes. DCP now can continue to produce the Globes, which are organized by the HFPA. In Matz’s 89-page ruling announced today (read it here), he affirmed a 1993 perpetuity amendment that the production company says gave it the right to make a 2010 deal with NBC that will keep the annual awards show on the network until 2018. The HFPA had contended that dcp, which is owned by Red Zone Capital, did not have that right and all its options on the show had expired. “We are extremely pleased with the results,” dcp lawyer Marty Katz told Deadline this afternoon. “It is entirely consistent with the evidence and our witnesses and shows Judge Matz took both into deep consideration.” Said the production company: “We are pleased the court affirmed our contract and look forward to working with the HFPA and NBC to nurture and expand the Golden Globes franchise for years to come.”
The two-week non-jury trial concluded February 10 and saw a series of past and current HFPA presidents and dcp executives take the stand. Dick Clark did not appear, but CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves did via video deposition.
Matz made it clear in his conclusion today that the decision came down to the final 12 words found in the 1993 amendment to the then-decadelong working relationship between the HFPA and dcp. It gives dcp the right to produce and license the Globes past 1997 for “Eight (8) additional, consecutive, exclusive and irrevocable options to acquire the exclusive right to produce a live television broadcast for each of the years 1998 through and including 2005, and for any extensions, renewals, substitutions or modifications of the NBC agreement.” That amendment, drafted by dcp, was signed by then-HFPA president Mirjana Van Blaricom in September 1993 as the production company completed a deal with NBC that would see the Globes return to network TV in 1996. “The plain meaning and the extrinsic evidence support dcp’s interpretation of the 1993 Amendment…” Matz wrote.
The HFPA and its lead lawyer Daniel Petrocelli were unavailable for comment. Both parties must submit motions to the court by May 14 in a Joint Status Report, which will outline any other matters that either the HFPA or dcp feel must be addressed in the case.