HFPA votes in actor-comedian for his third stint at kudos

Ricky Gervais is returning as host of the Golden Globes following a Wednesday vote by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., a decision that’s sure to please NBC but give pause to any celebs who wind up in the front rows at the Beverly Hilton in January.

Some details still need to be worked out before the decision is ratified, but with all parties now in agreement, Gervais is all but locked to appear on the January 15 telecast on NBC.

HFPA membership was divided on whether to bring back Gervais, whose personal attacks on attending celebs during last year’s monologue made many uneasy. But after the org met with an official from NBC — which was very much in favor of Gervais’ return — the vote went his way.

The HFPA confirmed the news on its website moments after Variety broke the news Wednesday, saying:

“While many welcome Gervais’s return, not everyone is happy with the decision because last year his blunt one-liners targeting big-name celebrities caused anger and resentment in some quarters. After the show Gervais dismissed the possibility of coming back for a third time, but he gradually warmed to the idea and last month met with HFPA President Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly in Paris to discuss it.'”

Gervais’ presence at the podium assures strong tune-in for the 69th annual Golden Globes, which Dick Clark Prods. is producing. His shtick was tame enough in 2010, but following this year’s show, then-HFPA president Philip Berk said the comedian’s withering humor “crossed the line.” Others criticized the comedian for barbs such as calling Bruce Willis “Ashton Kutcher’s father” and introducing Robert Downey Jr. as “better known for his stays at the Betty Ford Clinic and the L.A. County Jail.”

Just minutes after the news broke, Gervais tweeted that he had “Just told Billy Crystal he’d better not use any of my holocaust or pedophile material at The Oscars. He agreed (true)” — including a link to a photo of the Globes and Oscar hosts standing together outside.

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