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 V.17 No.2 | January 10 - 16, 2008 

Idiot Box

Struck Out

“The 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards” on CBS

“Here we are live on the red carpet at the 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Arriving on the red carpet right now is ... well, nobody. But if you squint real hard, I think you can see George Clooney standing behind the picket lines across the street. ... Back to you, Mary Hart!”

That was the scenario building for this weekend’s 65th annual Golden Globe Awards. But producers of the show have deftly sidestepped that tragic scenario by, well, canceling the Golden Globes. Yup, thanks to the Writers Guild strike, the celebrity-filled awards show has been canceled and replaced by a press conference in which someone will read off the names of the winners. That, my friends, is the magic of Hollywood.

The announcement, made less than a week before the telecast, followed intense and--none too surprisingly--acrimonious negotiations between the WGA and Dick Clark Productions, the company putting together the Golden Globes telecast. DCP had requested an interim agreement on the same basis as the one signed with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants. That agreement, made independently of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, has allowed “Late Show with David Letterman” to return to the airwaves along with its full staff of writers--giving Letterman a major advantage over fellow talk show hosts Leno and O’Brien, who have been forced to go back to work without the benefit of writers.

Lacking any such agreement, the Golden Globes would have been forced to contend with Guild picket lines crowding the red carpet. Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg said last weekend that none of the 70-plus nominated actors would cross a picket line to appear on the show. That would have left the star-studded show with a host and one big empty room. There was vague talk that if the show were not broadcast on television it could proceed as normal. But that’s the Hollywood equivalent of a tree falling in the forest: If a star-studded gala isn’t broadcast on television, did it really happen?

In the end, the WGA came down hard, refusing to support the Golden Globes telecast on the grounds that it essentially promotes the industry that it is striking against. The end result: No party for anyone.

NBC says it has pared down the three-hour telecast--normally filled with movie clips, tributes and star-powered speeches--to a one-hour news special. By eliminating the actors and branding it “news,” the show circumvents the WGA strike. It’s really a last-ditch attempt to save, not the awards themselves, but the millions of dollars in pre-sold advertising. The WGA initially agreed not to picket the press conference format, but NBC’s insistence on adding celebrity interviews, film clips and visits to after-parties to pad out the night’s coverage ticked off a few folks, resulting in the cancellation of most of the lavish studio parties. At this point, what actually airs on Sunday night is likely to be nothing to write home about.

“The 65 th Annual Golden Globe Awards” air (sort of) Sunday, Jan 13, at 7 p.m. on KOB-4.

 
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