By Mike Reynolds

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is back in the televised awards show game following an announcement that its 2023 Golden Globe Awards show will air on the NBC network live from the traditional home of the Globes, the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, on Tuesday, January 10.

Rather than the usual Sunday event, this next edition of the Golden Globes will be held on a Tuesday, as an NFL (American football) game is set for an NBC airdate on Sunday, January 8, and an NCAA Championship (American college football) game is scheduled for Monday, January 9. While the following Sunday might have been a possibility, the Critics Choice Awards (from the Los Angeles-based American-Canadian Critics Choice Association) had already locked in that date. The Globes nominations will be announced on December 12, 2022.

While the announcement might be seen as a victory for the HFPA, it may be a short-lived one — at least with regards to its association with NBC. This new television deal is for one year only, despite a previous deal with the network set to last until 2026 in which NBC was to pay out some $60 million annually for the rights. No one is yet saying how much this “one-off” deal will cost NBC, but it is expected to be less than that $60 million figure paid each year in the past, especially as the Globes’ last televised event in 2021 saw a dramatic fall in viewership. That one drew a paltry 1.5 rating and 6.9 million viewers, while the year before had seen a healthier 18.3 million viewers, also on NBC.

According to a press release, the televised 2023 show “allows the HFPA and DCP (Dick Clark Productions), its production company, to explore new opportunities for domestic and global distribution across a variety of platforms in the future,” opening the door for a new TV network, maybe even to go internationally via a streaming service.

All of this looks good on paper and will certainly enhance the promotional and financial power, not just of the HFPA but also of many movies and TV shows when the Oscars and Emmys next come around.

Meanwhile, there have been a few adjustments. For example, the HFPA announced last year that it wanted to increase its membership numbers by 50 percent over the next 18 months, with a stated goal of recruiting members from underrepresented groups. Those 18 months are now up, yet only 21 new members have been added, meaning that less than a quarter of the membership numbers have been added, though, admittedly, the diversity levels have increased.

A few months ago, when the U.S.-based holding company Eldridge Industries announced it was taking over the Golden Globe Awards from the HFPA for an undisclosed amount, a statement revealed that the Globes would become a different –– private and for-profit –– entity from the HFPA, whose various charitable endeavors would now be run as a non-profit organization.

The HFPA is not only owned by Eldridge Industries, headed by Todd Boehly, so too is Dick Clark Productions, the longtime producer of the Globes TV show. The company also has a stake in the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel through Eldridge Industries’ financial interest in the U.K.-based real estate company Cain International, which also has an interest in The Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The Globes announcement comes after many months of negotiation, after NBC’s refusal to air the 2022 Awards following revelations in The Los Angeles Times that cited the lack of diversity and representation in its membership (not a single Black member), as well as concern about certain financial practices.

U.S. Studios and TV entities pulled away from the organization, as did talent agencies and publicists, more than 100 of whom signed a letter condemning the HFPA for the way it was run and demanding several changes before they would even consider re-establishing contact.

Now, some people might question whether all those demands have yet been met, while others are questioning why every member is to receive $75,000 a year, something unheard of in any other industry critics association.

While the HFPA membership had fallen to around 80 following the controversy, it has rebounded somewhat, helped by the arrival of just over 100 new voters — who are not full-fledged HFPA members (another mystery), as well as 21 actual new press members.

Todd Boehly’s involvement suggests that the potential for the HFPA seems unlimited. According to Forbes magazine he is worth $5.3 billion and has a financial interest in the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, recently bought the English football (soccer) team Chelsea for 2.9 billion pounds (U.S. $3.28 billion) with Clearlake Capital, and then went on to spend the equivalent of more than $350 million on buying new players. He also owns the rights to Bruce Springsteen’s songs, and owns Draft Kings, a fantasy and sports-betting firm.

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