For the past five years Gold Derby has been a blog here at The Envelope, but on Nov. 1 it will return to its original form as an independent website — and one supported by the Los Angeles Times.
I will remain as a daily contributor to a new awards blog here at The Envelope and the current Gold Derby message boards will stay as part of this website. I'll also oversee the relaunch of the original GoldDerby.com, which I created in 1999 to recruit experts to predict who'll win Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards.
At its peak in 2005, the first GoldDerby.com had 45 award-tracking journalists from the Associated Press, Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, People, Premiere, TV Guide, etc. The site had such a notable reputation that the Los Angeles Times asked to buy it and fold it into the launch of TheEnvelope.com in November 2005. We struck a license deal instead, which gave me the option to reboot the site someday.
It's been a wonderful ride here for the past five years, but I've always, secretly, ached to bring back my old site. Now that The Envelope is up and running successfully, I decided it is time. I assumed that meant I would have to leave The Times to restart GoldDerby.com, but when I informed my bosses of my plans, they responded graciously with a terrific idea: Let's do both sites together. The Times will sell the ads at the new GoldDerby.com and I will remain as a contributor to The Envelope.
While I do double duty at both sites, Paul Sheehan will assume full-time supervision of GoldDerby.com as executive editor, a job he held during the site's original run. Pitching in will be many of our forum moderators who'll assume official roles as editors and writers: Chris "Boomer" Beachum, Rob Licuria, Matt Noble, Darrin "DoubleD" Dortch, David "Guru" Schnelwar, Andrew Pickett and Matthew "Boidiva02" Cormier. They've all earned the right to be regarded as serious award journalists. Congrats.
Five days after GoldDerby.com debuts on Nov. 1 on the Web, GoldDerby.com will hold its launch party at the Hollywood Museum where we'll bestow our first Career Achievement Award upon veteran awards campaigner Murray Weissman, who has worked on scores of Oscar campaigns, including seven wins for best picture: "The Sting" (1973), "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979), "Dances With Wolves" (1990), "The English Patient" (1996), "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), "Chicago" (2002) and "Crash" (2005). Recently, Weissman crossed over to Emmy campaigning where he championed the history-making romps by AMC's "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad."
Below is the official L.A. Times press release:
The Envelope and GoldDerby.com Team to Offer Deeper Dive into Entertainment Awards Race Predictions
Goldderby.com Re-launches November 1st in Collaboration with the Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - October 6, 2010 – The Envelope, the entertainment awards insider from the Los Angeles Times, will team with GoldDerby.com's founder and editor Tom O'Neil to broaden The Times entertainment portfolio when GoldDerby.com re-launches as a stand-alone destination on Nov. 1st.
For the past five years, The Times has licensed O'Neil's Gold Derby blog, which provided multimedia punditry for The Envelope. He will continue in his role as a regular Envelope contributor for the upcoming awards season, posting to a new, yet-to-be-unveiled blog and writing for the print editions, while also overseeing the return of GoldDerby.com. The revamped and re-established Gold Derby site, which can be accessed via TheEnvelope.com, is wholly owned and operated by Tom O'Neil and The Times will exclusively handle advertising sales.
"The entrepreneurial spirit has struck. I've been wanting to expand upon my original concept of focusing on the horse race and bring gaming, multimedia elements and user-generated content into the mix," said O'Neil. "I'm excited that The Times supports this expansion while continuing to include my commentary in The Envelope and I hope you'll tune-in as I ramp up the odds-making in the process."
"The Envelope and GoldDerby.com complement one another, yet have distinct identities," said The Times Assistant Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment, Sallie Hofmeister. "We are pleased to renew our relationship with Tom O'Neil and continue to have his GoldDerby as a notable feature in The Envelope's line-up of news, interviews, awards analysis and red carpet happenings."
O'Neil will be editor-in-chief of GoldDerby.com while Paul Sheehan resumes the role of executive editor that he held during the site's original run. He will be supported by a team of longtime Gold Derby fans who've proven their prognostication abilities, including Chris "Boomer" Beachum, Rob Licuria, Matt Noble, Darrin "DoubleD" Dortch and David "Guru" Schnelwar. They'll be joined by frequent contributors like Andrew Pickett, Matthew "Boidiva02" Cormier and others. All views will be translated into racetrack odds for the turbulent and ever-changing awards season.
GoldDerby.com will also pool award predictions from scores of media experts, many of whom contributed to the original site and feature video interviews with Oscar contenders. At its peak in 2005, the site showcased the Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award forecasts of more than 45 journalists from Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, New York Daily News, New York Post, Hollywood Reporter, Premiere, People, Us Weekly, TV Guide and E! Entertainment.
"The marketplace for The Envelope's entertainment awards news, hot predictions and red carpet coverage has proven insatiable and we are delighted to provide our advertisers the expanded portfolio our deeper relationship with GoldDerby.com offers," said John O'Loughlin, Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President of Advertising and Marketing, Los Angeles Times. "Advertisers want to be a part of the excitement and reach the industry insiders and award junkies we attract."
The Envelope, launched in 2005, is the indispensable source for comprehensive entertainment awards reporting, analysis and red carpet coverage. In print, online and at its events – the highly successful Envelope Screening Series and Roundtable discussions – The Envelope provides an in-depth look at major awards categories, the festival circuit, casts, crafts and industry luminaries. Its renowned Buzzmeter also provides predictions from The Times editorial staff and a stable of media experts nationwide and Ministry of Gossip is "the gospel on celebrity and pop culture."