Producers hoped for agreement with writers
So much for the Christmas spirit.The town’s first day back at work started with reports that the Golden Globes would probably proceed as scheduled Jan. 13, thanks to a hoped-for waiver from the striking Writers Guild. Then the WGA was heard from: No way would the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. gain an interim deal, said the guild. The writers intend to picket the show. Then the Screen Actors Guild weighed in, saying it would inform members “of their rights with respect to not crossing WGA picket lines.” So the HFPA is waiting to hear whether it will have winners or even presenters in attendance. And party planners are hanging by their thumbs, with post-banquet soirees costing millions of dollars in limbo. On Wednesday, party planners were proceeding on the assumption that the ceremony and after-event parties at the BevHilton will be held as planned — because they’re assuming the Globes won’t be televised. That in turn is based on the assumption that if the event is not televised, there won’t be pickets. But as one involved party sighed Wednesday, “Listen, everybody has opinions, but nobody knows what’s going on.” The uncertainty touches a lot of people beyond the guild, HFPA and NBC: Studio execs, stars and their reps and even restaurant and hotel honchos are awaiting a final decision on an event that’s only 10 days away. Wednesday marked a fast return to the atmosphere of fear and loathing that existed before the holidays. In a statement that morning, HFPA prexy Jorge Camara said, “Much like the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Film Independent’s Spirit Awards, we want to enter into an agreement with the WGA that will allow the entertainment industry to celebrate the outstanding work of creative individuals in addition to millions of fans nationwide. It is only fair that we be afforded the same opportunity as these other awards shows.” The statement also cited deals made between the WGA and David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants. But a few hours later, the WGA was emphatic that it remains committed to picketing the Jan. 13 kudofest. “Dick Clark Prods. is a struck company,” the WGA said. “As previously announced, the Writers Guild will be picketing the Golden Globe Awards.” The move underlines WGA leaders’ commitment to use bare-knuckle tactics via the strike to bring the Hollywood establishment to its knees. “The WGA has great respect and admiration for the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., but we are engaged in a crucial struggle that will protect our income and intellectual property rights for generations to come. We will continue to do everything in our power to bring industry negotiations to a fair conclusion. In the meantime, we are grateful for the ongoing support of the Hollywood talent community,” the WGA said in its statement. SAG president Alan Rosenberg quickly issued a statement of support Wednesday afternoon, saying, “Screen Actors Guild members will be happy to appear on projects using WGA writers, and we will continue to support the WGA in every way possible in its efforts to achieve a fair contract.” Rosenberg added: “Unless and until there is an agreement between the WGA and HFPA, we will advise our members of their rights with respect to not crossing WGA picket lines and/or not appearing on programs using non-union writers. Screen Actors Guild is holding a meeting with Golden Globe actor nominees later this week regarding these issues.” Meanwhile, party planners — including reps from HBO, NBC Universal, Warner Bros./InStyle and the Weinstein Co. — are assuming that their parties (which cost $300,000-$700,000) will be held. Nobody wants to cancel parties at this point, as several said Wednesday, because nobody wants to diss the Globes. On the other hand, nobody wants to diss the writers. A key is picketing. Some have said that WGA reps have given informal assurances that there won’t be pickets if the event is not televised. But there are other unanswered questions. For example, it hasn’t been decided whether the HFPA and Dick Clark Prods. can tape the ceremony and distribute clips to the media. If NBC doesn’t air the ceremony, Dick Clark and the HFPA would lose their license fees. NBC would presumably schedule something else in the Sunday slot. WGA, which has been on strike since Nov. 5, announced two weeks ago that it had nixed waiver requests from the Globes and the Oscars. Camara said Wednesday that discussions with the WGA began Saturday, the day after the Worldwide Pants deal was disclosed. “We feel that the ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ agreement is very reasonable and hope and expect the WGA will agree to the same terms and ultimately permit the Golden Globe Awards to be broadcast as scheduled, without picket lines, on Sunday, Jan. 13,” he added. Camara also noted that “Late Show With David Letterman” and the Golden Globe Awards are similar in structure and are administered in the same manner. “Worldwide Pants produces ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’ for broadcast on behalf of David Letterman. Dick Clark Prods. produces the ‘Golden Globe Awards’ for broadcast on behalf of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.,” he said. “CBS does not own ‘Late Show with David Letterman,’ and NBC does not own the Golden Globe Awards.” Camara also disclosed that Dick Clark Prods. has agreed to enter into interim agreements with the WGA for all of its productions, including the American Music Awards, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” and the Academy of Country Music Awards — even though the WGA identfies Dick Clark as a “struck company.” When the Globe waiver was denied last month, WGA West president Patric Verrone said: “We must do everything we can to bring our negotiations to a swift and fair conclusion for the benefit of writers and all those who are being harmed by the companies’ failure to engage in serious negotiations.”
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