Gervais, HFPA informally talk Globes

Sources say HFPA emphatically believes he'll be back for a third try

Ricky Gervais and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. have buried the hatchet — the question now becomes, did they sink it deep enough to bring him back to the Golden Globes?

Though some HFPA members condemned Gervais for taking shots at notables in the Beverly Hilton audience back in January, the two sides have begun talking informally about a third straight stint as host of the telecast on NBC.

While Gervais said late last month that there was no truth to reports that he was being asked back, the rumor mill began churning again Thursday, when the New York Post reported that the comedian was spotted dining in Paris with HFPA president Aida Takla O’Reilly and NBC’s head of specials Doug Vaughan. Gervais later tweeted a link to the story, saying: “Ooooooh! The plot thickens …”

Though sources stress that no offer has been made, people close to the HFPA say the org emphatically believes Gervais will return for the Jan. 15 kudocast, and that working out details is a mere formality. Reps for NBC and the HFPA declined comment.

Gervais’ schtick 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.”

This isn’t the first time this year Gervais’ name has come up for the Globes. In February, he tweeted that he’d been offered the job, though the HFPA firmly denied it at the time: “Nice try, Ricky,” Berk said in a statement. Then in September, Gervais said he was thinking of having his own no-holds-barred webcast to run during the show.

(Josh Dickey and Andrew Wallenstein contributed to this report.)