Freelance journalist Dominic Patten is covering the trial for Deadline:
A potential contradiction emerged this afternoon in Dick Clark Productions’ argument that the production company did not need the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s approval to negotiate with NBC for a new contract for the Golden Globes telecast. It came out that DCP president Mark Shapiro during discussions in 2010 assured the network that he did need HFPA’s consent. But Shapiro testified this afternoon that “I did not need approval from the HFPA”. Shapiro said he only used the HFPA as “a negotiating tactic” — leverage to help secure a lucrative long-term TV rights deal with the network. The eventual contract extended NBC’s rights to broadcast the Globes until 2018 and more than doubled to $21.5M the annual fees paid to HFPA and DCP.
Meanwhile, it now seems clear the trial will last at least two weeks — twice as long as originally expected. A source also tells Deadline that Dick Clark is now likely to testify sometime next week. Although Clark is on the witness list, he had not been expected to take the stand. Since a 2004 stroke the 82-year-old DCP founder is rarely seen in public beyond his yearly stints on ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
In contrast to the cool performance earlier today and yesterday of former DCP executive Fran La Maina, Shapiro seemed a bundle of nerves under questioning by HFPA lawyer Linda Smith. After several “I don’t knows” in response to Smith’s specific questioning about the timing and expiration of the 2010 renewal contract with NBC, Shapiro made a point of saying he was “not trying to be difficult.” He said, “I did not know we had to renew with HFPA, it never came to that. I knew we had to renew with NBC before out last show aired.”
MORE TO COME.
Earlier today, La Maina concluded his testimony by disputing HFPA lawyer Dan Petrocelli’s suggestion that DCP made big bucks from the Globes and that the 2002 sale of DCP to Mosaic Entertainment (DCP later was sold to Red Zone Capital Management) was a cash-in at the HFPA’s expense. “We at DCP lost money for many years on the Globes,” La Maina replied, citing production and overhead costs that the company absorbed as an investment in raising the show’s standards and getting it back on a network.
On Wednesday, La Maina testified that before DCP began working with the HFPA back in 1983, “the Hollywood Foreign Press were considered somewhat of a joke.” Citing the Pia Zadora situation — which saw the soft-core actress win Best New Star of 1982 at that year’s Globes in a campaign riddled with accusations of impropriety — La Maina said the HFPA were known as “an organization whose votes were bought.” He reiterated that DCP’s primary goal was to get the Golden Globes ceremony back on network TV after CBS jettisoned it in 1992. It was shown in syndication on TBS until NBC picked up broadcast rights in 1996. “Dick Clark’s reputation was the antithesis of the HFP,” La Maina testified. “We were lending our credibility.”
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