Golden Globes Trial Analysis: Time To Bring In A High-Powered Mediator?

Freelance journalist Dominic Patten is covering the trial for Deadline.

After two weeks of testimony and more than a dozen witnesses including current and past presidents of both Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions, their court battle over TV rights to the Golden Globes is now in a holding pattern. At the core of the dispute is a 1993 amendment to DCP’s longtime contract with the HFPA. The production company says the amendment grants them rights in perpetuity to the Golden Globes as long as the show is broadcast on NBC, which it has been since 1996. The HFPA says it does no such thing. When DCP signed a $150 million deal with NBC in 2010 extending the network pact until 2018, HFPA took the production company to court.

On Tuesday, Judge A. Howard Matz implored both parties to take the time before their lawyers begin closing arguments on Friday, February 10th to try to come to a settlement. As Deadline reported previously, neither side is talking to the other and some close to the case believe a settlement is unlikely.

Having watched almost every minute of the trial, here are a few observations both sides might want to consider:

CLEAN HOUSE: DCP certainly has issues of its own, like bald-faced lying to NBC during negotiations — more politely known as bluffing. But the cloistered 85-odd members of the HFPA need to clean house and create a professional organization. The parade of former HFPA presidents such as Phil Berk and Mirjana Van Blaricom and staff members have revealed a viper’s pit of in-fighting. It has also revealed a lack of business savvy — which is pretty bad when you are handling a multi-million-dollar asset like the Globes. (more…)

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