Owner of Dick Clark Productions offers new plan for the Golden Globes
Todd Boehly, chairman of Eldridge Industries and the parent company of longtime Golden Globes producer Dick Clark Productions, has presented a new reform plan to the embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.
In a surprise move, Boehly, who had previous discussions with the board, on Wednesday met with members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. in a Zoom meeting to propose a for-profit spinoff company in partnership with Eldridge.
The offer comes less than a week before the embattled HFPA is to begin voting on a slate of new bylaws and its promised “transformational change.”
Boehly could not immediately be reached for comment.
The proposal marks another twist for the once powerful HFPA. The organization lost its valuable perch on NBC, which pulled the 2022 broadcast in May following months of turmoil and infighting within the group. The HFPA has been under escalating pressure to reform following a Times investigation that highlighted allegations of financial and ethical lapses and pointed out that not one of the HFPA’s then-87 members was Black.
The group behind the Golden Globes is set to vote on a series of promised new reforms, but infighting and inertia have ruled the process, imperiling the HFPA’s ability to enact systemic change.
Under the Eldridge proposal, the new entity would be governed by a 15-member board. It would also implement new criteria and requirements for membership into the HFPA. The HFPA would add 50 journalist voters, with a focus on diversity. An individual familiar with many of the details confirmed the proposal.
It is not known if the deal under consideration would accommodate all of the existing 85 members going forward.
The Times earlier reported on the planned meeting with Boehly. Details of the Eldridge-backed proposals were first published in the New York Times.
In addition to Dick Clark Productions, the movie studio MRC and the Hollywood Reporter trade publication are among the private equity firm’s holdings. As is the Beverly Hilton, longtime home of the Globes, providing a powerful financial incentive for Eldridge to become a partner to the organization.
Under its current contract with NBC, Dick Clark Productions earns roughly half of the more than $60-million annual licensing fee that the network is obligated to pay through 2026; the HFPA earns the other half. The plan would put Dick Clark Productions in the position of not only preserving its slice of the licensing pie for a show with an uncertain future, but potentially gaining an even great share of it.
It is unclear, however, whether or how quickly the plan could happen. The HFPA’s current bylaws require a two-thirds vote in order to enact change, meaning the notoriously fractious group would likely need a clear majority to approve it.
Such an arrangement could remove a number of issues the nonprofit organization faces over its longtime practice of paying members substantial sums to serve on various committees and perform other tasks; something tax experts say could challenge its nonprofit status. The Times investigation found that the HFPA paid its members nearly $2 million in its fiscal year ending in June 2020.
Still other questions remain.
In March a contingent of powerful Hollywood publicists launched a boycott of the organization. Two months later, Netflix cut ties with the HFPA until more meaningful changes were in place; followed by Amazon, WarnerMedia and Neon, the indie studio behind the award-winning 2019 movie “Parasite.”
It remains to be seen if the industry that distanced itself from the HFPA will approve of a rebranded Golden Globes under new management.
It does however offer a tantalizing prospect: preserving the awards, long an important marketing tool and launch pad for the Oscars, while recasting the long-troubled group behind it.
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