2ND UPDATE: Televised Golden Globes Cancelled! This just rocks back and forth and back and forth. The latest I’m hearing as of a few minutes ago is that NBC will not be broadcasting the Golden Globes as planned. Insiders tell me also that the entire event, even untelevised, will be cancelled. And the Hollywood Foreign Press Association instead will make an announcement of the winners.

UPDATE: Looks like Hollywood’s lobbying of Jeff Zucker to back off is working… NBC is softening its hardline position that there can’t be a Golden Globes unless it televises the awards. But no go-ahead yet.

EXCLUSIVE: My sources say the striking Writers Guild Of America has told the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that the union won’t picket the 2008 Golden Globes as long as it isn’t broadcast by AMPTP member NBC. But now NBC isn’t allowing the HFPA to hold an untelevised awards show by arguing that the media group is contractually obligated to have the network broadcast the Golden Globes on January 13th or a pushed-back date. I’ve learned that many in the Hollywood community are lobbying NBC Universal topper Jeff Zucker to change his mind. Because his refusal to allow a non-televised Golden Globes could effectively cancel the awards night altogether, and Hollywood wants it to proceed. Yet another mess…

I’m told the WGA has even assured the HFPA that, in addition to no picket lines, the union would encourage actor nominees and presenters as well as writers to attend a non-televised Golden Globes. And the WGA also has given the nod to a Red Carpet media blitz. (See my previous, NBC Still “Moving Forward” To Air Golden Globes Even Though SAG Says Actor Nominees & Presenters Won’t Go)

goldenglobesbrad.jpgThe ethically challenged HFPA, of course, would much rather have the event broadcast because of the big bucks that it receives for the telecast rights. But insiders say the HFPA also recognizes that it needs to hold the event no matter what in order to maintain what little credibility it still has in Hollywood.

“NBC has the contractual right to broadcast the Golden Globes and that’s where a lot of the complication now is coming from. The network is telling the HFPA that if they hold any kind of Golden Globes show, then NBC contractually has the right to televise it,” a show veteran explained. “NBC is essentially telling Hollywood, ‘If we’re going down, then everybody is going down with us’.”

globe.jpgIt’s now painfully clear to both the HFPA that there won’t be a televised Golden Globes on NBC on January 13th because of the writers strike. Especially after the WGA is keeping at arms length any side agreement with Globes producer Dick Clark Productions on grounds that the awards show is a worldwide marketing tool for studio and network product. And especially after SAG president Alan Rosenberg’s statement yesterday that there is “unanimous agreement” among his union’s actors not to cross WGA picket lines to appear on the Golden Globe telecast as acceptors or presenters. I’ve learned that not just the WGA but also NBC are why HFPA president Jorge Camara sounded so unsure yesterday whether the Golden Globes awards could “take place with the creative community present to participate. We hope to announce a resolution to this unfortunate predicament on Monday.”

NBC won’t officially confirm or deny the above. But an insider at the network told me today: goldenglobesmirren2.jpg“We are earnestly trying to find a way to telecast the show even if it means pushing the airdate. We haven’t looked beyond that as we are focused on that resolution. We have received support behind the scenes from many in the Hollywood Community to try and work this out.”

Not just NBC and the Golden Globes, but I’m told also ABC and the Academy Awards are both looking at the feasibility of delaying their respective telecasts until after the WGA strike is settled so there would be no picket lines. But to make this plan work, both networks and awards organizations would have to look into a crystal ball and predict a possible strike settlement within the next few months or at least within 2008 (something nobody can predict right now). And then there’s the huge logistical and costly nightmare of pushing back the airdates.

Meanwhile, here is NBC’s response to that letter sent from major Hollywood publicity firms informing Jeff Zucker that “the vast majority” of the actors, writers and directors nominated for 2008 Golden Globes “are not comfortable crossing a picket line”:

Jeff Zucker has asked that I respond to your e-mail to him of earlier today.

NBC shares your desire to see your clients recognized for their work and talent. We agree that an interim agreement between dick clark productions, inc. (“dcp”) and the WGA would be in the best interest of all involved, including your clients, the WGA and its members, and certainly the viewing public. In fact, dick clark productions has attempted to do precisely what you suggest: it has tried to obtain an interim agreement with the WGA on the exact terms and conditions upon which the WGA entered into an interim agreement with Worldwide Pants just last week. Unfortunately, the WGA has refused to enter into or even negotiate over such an interim agreement with dcp.

Perhaps your clients could request that the WGA come to the table to negotiate and enter into an interim agreement with dcp on the same terms to which it was willing to agree in dealing with Worldwide Pants. As I noted, NBC understands that dcp has already proposed and stands prepared to accept such an interim agreement. If the WGA will not concede to this reasonable request, then we would ask that your clients reconsider their position and attend this year’s Golden Globe Awards presentation as planned.

Very truly yours,
James M. Lichtman
Senior Vice President, Litigation
NBC Universal Television Group