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Globes TV special now an '"Access" PR stunt'?

January 10, 2008 |  1:19 am

Some members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are upset that NBC has turned its Golden Globes press conference into what some are labelling as "an 'Access Hollywood' PR stunt," according to a source close to the group.

When word leaked out early Wednesday that NBC wanted "Access" hosts Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell to host the one-hour special Sunday night, a top Golden Globe consultant told me, "The HFPA will never permit it!"

Access_1

Only reluctantly did HFPA agree earlier this week to NBC's plan for a televised press conference to announce winners in place of its usual awards banquet proceeding without TV coverage. In both cases, HFPA loses the $5 million fee it normally gets from NBC to telecast the dinner ceremony. Many members wanted the usual gala to proceed so that it would send the message that HFPA cares less about its TV show than gathering the titans of Hollywood together in order to reward their best film and TV work of the year. But NBC had reportedly pre-sold more than $20 million in advertising and pressured HFPA to accept some form of substitute program.

It is believed that HFPA leaders caved under network pressure only when assured that the TV show would be a serious press conference produced by NBC's news division. They never thought they'd get stuck with "a puff show" with Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell, says a source. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has enough trouble being taken seriously by some media observers who criticize the freelance status of many members. It's doubtful that the group would've agreed to this plan if NBC had been clear up front, is the sentiment I understand is now coming from the HFPA camp.

"The show isn't a real press conference," a veteran TV producer tells me. "It doesn't look like [the] journalists present will be able to ask questions of Golden Globe officials. They'll be there as captives to watch Billy and Nancy read off nominees and winners in 25 award categories."

When the Globes hold press conferences to announce nominees every year, live TV footage is made available to all news organizations via a pool feed. Reportedly, and at the time of this writing, NBC will insist upon exclusivity during Sunday's one-hour telecast and all TV and video outlets will be prohibited from airing anything — even news reports about winners that don't show the alleged press conference in a camera shot — if credentialed to be at the Beverly Hilton.

UPDATE (Jan. 10, 1:30 p.m. PT): Leaders of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association appear to be regaining control of Sunday's Golden Globe press conference TV show as discussions continue with NBC execs. A source close to the negotiations reports that the network may limit the involvement of "Access Hollywood" hosts Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell so that the program doesn't appear to be an "Access" spinoff and permit HFPA president Jorge Camara and other HPFA members to announce nominees and winners in many top categories. Also, NBC may approve HFPA's request to involve other NBC entertainment reporters besides Bush and O'Dell. Also under discussion is loosening some aspects of NBC's demand for news exclusivity and the possibility that the one-hour telecast may include no TV commercial advertisements, but no final decisions have yet been made as private talks progress.

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Comments

Best argument for the return of Writers? Billy Bush's non stop drivel as Golbe presser host. Who said dullness and inarticulacy is not an inherited trait?

The HFPA are not only a small number of insignificant freelancers among the huge number of foreign press actually working in Hollywood but many of them are not even movie critics but working for third-rate gossip or TV guide style mags. Some members are not foreign, others not really press but e.g. WireImage photographers. I know that respectable outlets like the British Guardian tried to apply for membership years ago but were denied... Who decided to let those people go ahead with this sham, who let them ever get as big as they think they are? I 'm not sorry this thing is not happening this year, and I would very much like a paper like the LAT do some investigating into this sordid mess.

The producers need to start bargaining, the writers are just asking for what's fair.

The GG are a complete joke anyway! It's less than 100 diletante foreign writers - most of whom are freelance - who basically require subservience from any stars. If a star does not thank the HFP, they can kiss any chance of a future nomination goodbye!

This whole thing is a joke anyway. Why is anyone taking it seriously?

I always ask "Why isn't Billy Bush serving in Iraq?"....
Posted by: Frankie R. | January 10, 2008 at 09:56 AM

Good one...

Is it just me, or is complaining over Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell a little unnecessary? The viewers should be so glad that the HFPA chose to air its awards live at all rather than have their usual banquet but without the cameras; of course, they know they need viewers' continued support to persist as a popular, TV-friendly event.

Do we as the viewers really pay the price? This certainly is turning out to be a disappointing awards season. But come on, are you telling me Brian Williams should be hosting the press conference over Bush and O'Dell? Get real. This is not hard news, and for those of us who truly love and accept the industry, seeing entertainment hosts there trying to make us feel it's not just another nomination press conference will provide some semblance of a legitimate award show.

I always ask "Why isn't Billy Bush serving in Iraq?"....Anyhoo, it looks like a very sad awards season, if the writers' strike continues much longer...But we the fans are the ones who pay the price...I still the actors, directors and crew techies should show up and plug in support for the writers on TV...bring the issue to the forefront...As for the writers and producers, let's start bargaining...quit being so freakin' stubborn and damn greedy!!!...


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