NBC brings back the Golden Globes after boycotts and backlash

The show will go on.

After rampant speculation about a comeback, the Golden Globes is returning next year to NBC, its longtime broadcast network, in time for the awards show’s 80th anniversary, the hollywood Foreign Press Assn. announced Tuesday in a joint statement.

The move caps more than a year of chaos and uncertainty for the HFPA, which confronted withering criticism over its operations and the conduct of members. The group has embarked on a series of reforms in an effort to salvage its once high-profile awards show and get back into Hollywood’s good graces.

Last year, NBC dropped the broadcast of the 2022 Globes, a contingent of powerful publicists boycotted the organization and studios including Netflix and WarnerMedia cut ties after a Los Angeles Times investigation raised questions about the group’s ethical and financial lapses and revealed that not one of the then-87 members was Black.

The report highlighted allegations that the nonprofit group’s awards or nominations could be influenced with expensive junkets and publicity swag. It also found that the HFPA regularly issued substantial payments to its own members — nearly $2 million in the fiscal year ending in June 2020 — in ways that some experts said could run afoul of Internal Revenue Service guidelines. The HFPA said its compensation practices were in line with industry practices and that the allegations reflected longstanding bias against the association.

NBC will televise next year’s ceremony on Jan. 10 on the broadcast network and on its Peacock streaming platform as part of a one-year agreement, which also allows the HFPA and Dick Clark Productions to “explore new opportunities for domestic and Global distribution across a Sahu Newsof platforms in the future,” according to a joint statement.

The network, which previously had a multiyear agreement with the HFPA to air the Golden Globes, agreed to a narrower one-year deal, in part to ensure that the organization remains committed to the reforms it had undertaken, said a person familiar with the discussions who was not authorized to speak publicly.

“We recognize the HFPA’s commitment to ongoing change and look forward to welcoming back the Golden Globes to NBC for its landmark 80th anniversary in January 2023,” Frances Berwick, chairman of entertainment networks for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, said in the statement.

“We are thrilled to announce the return of the Golden Globe awards on NBC and to hosting the ‘Party of the Year’ for audiences around the World who have been waiting for its return,” HFPA President Helen Hoehne said. “The HFPA remains committed to important changes and supporting programs which prioritize diversity, inclusion and transparency.”

Returning to the air gives a major boost to the struggling HFPA, which took a financial hit when NBC opted not to broadcast the Golden Globes this year. The organization had generated $27.4 million a year from the network.

Financial terms of its new one-year deal with NBC were not disclosed, although the broadcast network was expected to secure a reduction in its fee, said people familiar with the negotiations who were not authorized to comment.

Over the last 18 months, the HFPA has implemented various reforms, including establishing new bylaws, banning gifts, hiring a chief diversity officer and adding 21 new members, six of whom are Black.

It has also announced various partnerships, including with the NAACP and the World Bank.

Last month, after amending its bylaws, the association added 103 international, nonmember voters to its ranks, both expanding and diversifying the organization’s composition.

While NBC’s decision appears to put an end to the HFPA’s pariah status within the entertainment industry — and even inside the group — it remains to be seen whether hollywood stars are ready to embrace the show amid skepticism that reforms didn’t go far enough.

The Times investigation cast a shadow of controversy over the 2021 Golden Globes ceremony, and the HFPA vowed that it was committing to “transformational change.” Within weeks, HFPA leadership announced it had retained a strategic diversity advisor and an outside law firm to “guard against any exclusionary practices,” audit bylaws and membership requirements, and review and monitor its policies.

The road to a systemic overhaul has been rocky; the process itself has been marked by internal fighting and a reluctance among some members to embrace effectual change.

For months, members complained about The Times’ investigation, other media reports and external criticism of the group, and debated the need for reform, according to interviews, multiple email threads and chats reviewed by The Times.

Last April, Shaun Harper, the diversity strategist hired by the HFPA,
abruptly resigned just weeks after coming on board.

His exit came a day after The Times reported that former eight-term HFPA President Phil Berk sent an email to members criticizing Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and likening BLM to a hate group — touching off a firestorm among many of the organization’s members. Berk stepped down the next day following calls from both NBC and Dick Clark Productions for his ouster.

By June, two long-standing HFPA members resigned in protest, calling the HFPA “toxic” and its reform efforts “window-dressing.”

The HFPA maintained it was committed to reform and worked to re-engage with Hollywood, periodically announcing its efforts toward change in a host of areas around governance and internal policies.

Last August, the vast majority of its 84 members voted for a slate of proposed bylaws intended to overhaul the organization, expand membership with a focus on diversity and restore its credibility with the entertainment industry.

The vote was seen as a significant step to pull one of Hollywood’s highest-profile awards shows back from the brink of possible extinction.

In January, with hollywood keeping its distance, the HFPA opted to hold the Globes at its longtime home at the Beverly Hilton.

There were no celebrities (at least outside of pre-taped well-wishes from Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, separately lending support to the group’s charitable giving), red carpet, audience or marquee-name host onstage in the Beverly Hilton’s ballroom. The ceremony itself wasn’t broadcast on television nor was it livestreamed.

Few winners publicly acknowledged their awards. Further, few studios, networks or streamers included wins as is typical in their awards season marketing campaigns.

In July, the association approved interim Chief Executive Todd Boehly’s proposal to acquire the Globes and transform the group into a for-profit venture. Under the plan, the HFPA would maintain separately its nonprofit charitable arm;

Unlike members of the Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, HFPA members are now be considered employees and will be paid for disclosed duties, with each receiving $75,000 a year. (The recently added international voters who aren’t classified as members won’t be compensated.)

Boehly is chairman of private equity firm Eldridge Industries, the parent company of longtime Globes producer DCP, with stakes in several hollywood trade publications such as the hollywood Reporter as well as production companies, including A24, and the Beverly Hilton, where the Golden Globes ceremony is presented.

Still, many industry players say they have questions about the progress of the HFPA’s reforms and the organization itself, and it’s unclear whether talent will participate in the awards ceremony if nominated.

“I have a lot of questions,” publicist Marcel Pariseau, who represents such A-listers as Scarlett Johansson, told The Times recently. “This concerns me. I’m not sure if it concerns the industry or not.”

Originally published at www.latimes.com

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