Please, no dancing

Globes telecast prides itself on avoiding pitfalls

Producing the Golden Globes is like putting on the senior prom, veteran producer Barry Adelman says. “This is one of the only shows I do where a lot of people say to me, ‘That’s one show I wish I could go to.'”

It’s no wonder.

Unlike the other trophy show, the Globes event toasts the evening with plenty of booze, no stilted host, no song-and-dance packages and minimal banter.

“We kind of get right down to business,” says Adelman, who is co-executive producer of the live NBC telecast with Dick Clark. “One of the philosophies we have about this show is we try not to intrude too much upon what people are there for, which is to celebrate the best in movies and television for the year.”

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s kudocast also celebrates the best of comedy, a major difference between two annual kudocasts. This year, the comedy contenders will be even more highlighted.

Crediting a particularly potent batch of comedy noms, the show will air clips from the comedy-musical nominees alongside the drama noms. “Bend It Like Beckham,” “Big Fish,” “Finding Nemo,” “Lost in Translation” and “Love Actually” are up for the prize, while talent nominees including Jamie Lee Curtis, Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Bill Murray and Billy Bob Thornton will duke it out for comedy acting honors.

“Each year, we’ve been attempting to spotlight and showcase the category in a stronger way,” Adelman says. “I’m working right now on formatting the show so people can see we’re dealing with 10 great movies, both funny and serious.”

This year, the 61st edition of the Golden Globes stands to be watched by more viewers than ever, falling between — rather than against — what’s likely to be two of the most watched National Football League games of the year: the National Football Conference championship and the Super Bowl. Last year’s telecast, up against the American Football Conference championship, fell to a six-year low, averaging 20.1 million viewers, a 14% drop from 2002. Also, the event was the subject of a recent megahyped Trio cable docu profiling some of the 93 personalities behind the HFPA responsible for the Globes.

Still, minus football competition, this year’s event won’t have to be adorned with extra bells and whistles, Adelman says. Running a tight ship is key to giving the aud what it wants — unadulterated star-gazing.

That means the Globes will continue to clock in much faster than its Academy counterpart. While morning-after press reports often harp on the kudocast’s running time, Adelman says he has to tip his hat to the Oscar producers. “We all go in expecting to go out on time,” he says. “Anyone who does the Oscars should be applauded and lauded no matter how long it goes because there is so much to deal with and so much show there.”

The intimacy of the Globes evokes a freewheeling spirit from celebs and the show’s producers, who do their best to keep it from getting stuffy and stiff. That means not being preoccupied with speeches that runneth over. “We focus on the stars and letting them have their moments, and it seems to work for us,” he says. “If we spend three minutes on a theme package, I’m losing maybe some really valuable time of Jack Nicholson getting up onstage — if he does — and saying something good. So I would rather save time for a Jack or a Jim Carrey or somebody who is going to give us a memorable moment.”

Thanks to the free flow of wine served at the Beverly Hilton, chances for unforgettable moments are good. “The challenge is to let whatever happens happen. Let’s not get so tight with the requirements of TV that we’re making the people in the room behave differently,” Adelman says.

“There’s serious stuff going on, and you can tell the awards are important to the winners when can see people tear up and get emotional. But, at the same time, there is definitely a festive feeling in the room.

“When a winner walks up from a table and they have to squeeze through the group of wall-to-wall stars, you can see the looks on everyone’s faces and how happy they are. It’s a night where people seem to be really happy for everyone. We just try to capture it.”

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