Nineteen hours after the Golden Globes nominations were announced, Merv Griffin’s deal to sell the BevHilton became final.
But the singer, gameshow host and mogul still has one foot in the door: His event-production company will have at least one more shot at handling the Globes after-parties.
For the past half-dozen years, the after-parties have been contractually obligated to use Merv Griffin Productions — a company separate from the hotel — to handle their fiestas. The idea went this way: setting up six massive parties inside an operating hotel was a complex task. Having one central organizer facilitated security and administration.
But problems arose when the studios thought Griffin charged too much. The average cost of a Globe party has been between $350 and $500 per guest. For a midrange film preem, the numbers vary from $100 to $200 per head.
Last year, costs had risen to a point where New Line opted out of having its party at the hotel and instead went to Koi; Sony canceled altogether; and Miramax had its arm gently twisted by the HFPA to stay on site. (The compromise was the mini-major secured the Trader Vic’s restaurant space, which is connected to the hotel but does not contract with Merv Griffin Productions.)
Throughout the studios’ howling about prices, Griffin was unapologetic. As a producer who has been paying high rates for the soundstages he rents, he had no inclination to give the studios a discount when the tables were turned and he was the landlord.
“If you go to a studio and rent places on their lot, see what you get charged,” he said last year. “I want to make some money on these, too. I’m not in business to take a loss on these parties.” Griffin was unavailable for comment this year.
While next year would see more radical changes in the party situation if MGP is not the overseeing production entity, there are a couple of differences this time around.
Perhaps the biggest change is that Paramount won’t be having its annual affair in the Stardust Room. This eight-floor restaurant had been its traditional space. This year, the room will be used by “Access Hollywood” and Target.
Last year, InStyle had combined with Warner Bros. for a joint party, but this year the mag will be going solo. HBO, the other Time Warner entity at the Globes, has always held a separate party — companies can get prickly about wanting to keep their brands separate. It also keeps the competing “Six Feet Under” and “The West Wing” nominees in different parts of the building.
Another studio that’s had parties in the past but is absent this year is DreamWorks. This will be the second year it has given up the Trader Vic’s space to Miramax.
Last year, when DreamWorks gave up Trader Vic’s, there were indications the studio could have it back this year if it asked (first dibs go to returning veterans). Presumably, that right of first refusal would extend another year.