CBS CEO testifies he would have paid more than NBC for Globes
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Last week, former NBC executive Marc Graboff said that he thought NBC got a bad deal in 2010 when the network agreed to pay an average annual fee of $21.5 million to keep the Golden Globes.
CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves agreed that it was a bad deal, but not for NBC. Moonves thought the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which owns the Golden Globes and Dick Clark Productions, which produces the show for the network, could have done better with him.
In a deposition taken by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as part of its legal battle with Dick Clark Productions over who controls the television rights to the show, Moonves confirmed he was willing to pay at least $25 million for the show. Upon learning that NBC was keeping the awards program for less money, Moonves said he told Debby Barak, the network’s executive vice president of business operations, ‘God, they got a bad deal.’
Dick Clark Productions and the HFPA are in the second week of their trial in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles. HFPA filed a suit in 2010 against Dick Clark Productions, contending that the deal Dick Clark Productions struck with NBC to keep the Globes on the network though 2018 violated their partnership agreement and was done without their approval. Dick Clark Productions has countered that per its agreement with the HFPA, it did not need the association’s permission to renew with NBC.
Moonves’ assessment of the value of the Globes seems to contradict Graboff’s thoughts on the worth of the show. In testimony, Graboff acknowledged emailing then NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and NBCUniversal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin that ‘this is the kind of deal we shouldn’t rush to make.’ NBC’s ‘butts were kicked,’ Graboff said in his pretrial deposition referring to the negotiations for the Globes with Dick Clark Productions.
Moonves’ written and video testimony has been submitted, but the judge in the bench trial -- A. Howard Matz -- has not yet decided whether he will allow it. Lawyers for Dick Clark Productions have objected to Moonves’ testimony because they say the issues in the case are about the contract between the two parties and not what CBS said it might have paid for the show.
-- Joe Flint