LOS ANGELES – Hollywood awards shows are notorious for being slow, but not so the lawsuit that will determine the future of the Golden Globes. Lawyers for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions will be battling in court at trial on August 22.
Last November, the HFPA sued show producer DCP over allegations that it breached a contract by unilaterally reaching a new eight-year broadcast deal for the Globes in secret with NBC.
Originally, there was some concern that the dispute might put the 2012 show in jeopardy because if a new producer needed to be picked, it couldn't happen before a determination was made on HFPA's claims. At the time, a December trial date looked most likely, setting off alarms for an awards show that typically airs just one month later.
But U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank and the parties have worked hard to make the litigation move extraordinarily quickly (no small feat in the clogged L.A. courthouse). The expected trial was put on a "rocket docket" for September, but now the trial has been moved up to late August.
Both sides are moving heaven and earth to wrap up the discovery pre-trial phase of the case. A number of depositions have taken place or will soon take place, including executives at NBC Universal.
DCP is defending the lawsuit by pointing to its contract with HFPA and saying the agreement gives it "exclusive" and "irrevocable" options to hold onto the Globes. Both parties dispute whether consent over a new broadcasting deal was necessary, with the HFPA also accusing the defendant of commandeering Globes-related trademarks and other rights for its own benefit.