Golden Globes struggle to retain some aura

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A day after the Golden Globe Awards were relegated to a celebrity-free news conference, organizers scrambled Tuesday to preserve what little aura around the event that they could.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. asked studio executives and publicists to attend Sunday evening’s news conference. But few who were interviewed said they would. The Writers Guild of America, whose strike led to the telecast’s cancellation, will be picketing the low-wattage event at the Beverly Hilton.

A clips show from Dick Clark Prods. -- the company that produces the Globes telecast for NBC -- was scotched. The company may yet provide some clips to NBC’s “Dateline,” whose annual preview show will be moved from Saturday to Sunday, possibly sharing space with another program, like the NBC-owned entertainment magazine “Access Hollywood.”

Golden Globe nominees have been solicited by “Dateline” for interviews. But sources indicated Tuesday that actors had been advised not to participate.

“The WGA has informed us that they consider the taped segments that are being produced to be struck work,” Screen Actors Guild spokeswoman Pam Greenwalt said. “So we would hope that our members would not participate. (But) there is no official advisory planned.”

At NBC, meanwhile, the format for the news conference became a subject of increasing scrutiny. It’s likely that there will be no significant NBC News talent; some speculated that the network may enlist talent from “Access Hollywood,” including anchors Billy Bush and Nancy O’Dell.

The exclusion of all TV outlets other than NBC News is raising eyebrows in the TV news world, since it’s not really a news conference if only one TV network is allowed in the door.

New York-based entertainment executives canceled their trips to the West Coast, with some saying that they were hoping to apply them to Oscar flights -- though they were holding off on doing that just yet.

Cable channels also adjusted their plans. TV Guide Network, which had scheduled four hours of red-carpet programming leading up to the Globes telecast, is now planning a two-hour in-studio preshow event (airing from 7-9 p.m. EST).

Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes maneuvering involving some heavyweight publicity firms came to light. Sources said an alliance of firms, such as 42 West and PMK/HBH, which had declared that their clients wouldn’t cross the picket line to attend the Globes ceremony, tried to broker a deal Monday that would allowed the stars to attend the news conference.

That fell apart when the WGA got wind of a supposed NBC memo about an elaborate party-and-red-carpet telecast. The publicity firms quickly changed tack, and opted to follow the lead of the unions.

Entertainment programs weren’t the only entities affected by the Globes’ relegation.

Without the $5 million license fee from NBC, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s grants to fund film programs at various local colleges were “thrown into question,” according to a representative for the press group.

There was business as usual in at least one venue: As of Tuesday night, was still promoting a star-studded three-hour Golden Globes award ceremony.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter