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NBC Revives Tarnished Golden Globe Telecast, Citing Reforms

The Golden Globe Awards telecast, which sloshes money through the entertainment economy, will return in January with an even bigger platform. NBC canceled the show in 2021 amid an ethics, finance and diversity scandal that continues to simmer.

NBC said on Tuesday that it would broadcast the 80th Golden Globes ceremony on Jan. 10, a prime spot on Hollywood’s awards-season calendar. (Oscar balloting begins on Jan. 12.) For the first time, the show will also be available simultaneously online, through NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock.

Nominations will be announced on Dec. 12.

To justify its decision, NBCUniversal pointed to a wide range of reforms at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the unorthodox organization that bestows the Globes. “We recognize the H.F.P.A.’s commitment to ongoing change,” Frances Berwick, NBCUniversal’s chairwoman of entertainment networks, said in a statement.

The foreign press association has overhauled membership eligibility, recruited new members with an emphasis on diversity, enacted a stricter code of conduct, elected a new president and largely ended its tax-exempt status, transforming into a for-profit company with a philanthropic arm. Last month, the H.F.P.A. sent a letter to studios that pointed to “transformational change” in the areas of “diversity, transparency and accountability.”

The 108-member foreign press association now has six Black voters — up from zero last year — and has added 103 nonmember voters, a dozen or so of whom are Black.

Some publicists, stars and filmmakers are satisfied, or at least ready to end more than a year of behind-the-scenes bickering over the degree to which the H.F.P.A. needed to reform. Others are holding their noses, unsatisfied but willing to re-engage with the Globes as a promotional platform for Oscar campaigns. Another contingent remains adamant that the foreign press association has not done enough, and that the Globes should perhaps be retired forever.

Hollywood businesses, however, are almost universally aligned: Please, pretty please, let the Golden Globes champagne flow again.

Most movie studios had quietly made it clear to NBC that they view the Globes telecast and accompanying red carpet spectacle as crucial marketing opportunities for winter films — especially dramas, which have been struggling at the box office. In a study released last year, economists at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania found that, on average, films that win Globes earn an additional $16.5 million in ticket sales.

Streaming services covet Globes to influence voters at more prestigious awards ceremonies. Last year, Netflix campaigned for Emmy votes by citing prior Golden Globe victories, despite separately vowing to boycott future Globes ceremonies until “meaningful” reforms were made.

The Golden Globe Awards broadcast generates tens of millions of dollars for various Hollywood businesses. Stylists, catering companies, party planners, chauffeurs, banquet workers, florists and spray tanners count on the show to generate a significant part of their winter income. The Hollywood Reporter and Variety each generate several million dollars in revenue from Globes advertising.

Advertisers bought roughly $50.3 million worth of airtime during NBC’s most-recent Globes telecast, according to Kantar, a media research firm. Before pulling the plug, NBC was paying the nonprofit H.F.P.A. about $30 million a year for rights to the show. Another $30 million went to an independent company, Dick Clark Productions, which mounted the telecast.

Live awards shows, including the Oscars, have lost tens of millions of viewers over the past decade, but the biggest ceremonies still attract a bigger audience than almost anything else on traditional television, aside from live sports. The most-recent Golden Globes telecast, held without celebrity attendees because of the pandemic, attracted about seven million viewers, according to Nielsen. Prepandemic, the show was attracting about 18 million viewers annually.

The foreign press association had long been viewed as unserious and slippery. In the late 1960s, the Federal Communications Commission got the Globes temporarily booted from the airwaves, saying it “misled the public as to how the winners were determined.” In the 1990s and 2000s, Harvey Weinstein, the since-imprisoned Miramax co-founder, manipulated the organization in ways big and small — expensive gifts, special access to stars, and his own time and attention at a moment when other studio chiefs could barely hide their derision. He was often rewarded with a stunning number of nominations.

Hollywood decided it could no longer turn a blind eye in February 2021, when a wide-ranging article in The Los Angeles Times enumerated financial and ethical lapses at the foreign press association and revealed that the H.F.P.A. had no Black members. Also in February 2021, the association snubbed “Bridgerton,” angering Netflix and Shonda Rhimes, the show’s powerful producer.

“For far too long, demands for perks, special favors and unprofessional requests have been made to our teams and to others across the industry,” a Warner spokeswoman said at the time. “We regret that as an industry, we have complained, but largely tolerated this behavior until now.”

More than 100 publicity firms closed ranks, refusing to make stars available for Golden Globe appearances and contributing to NBC’s cancellation of the 2022 telecast. The foreign press association held a nontelevised ceremony in January, but most stars refused to acknowledge being nominated or winning. Scarlett Johansson had said that H.F.P.A. news conferences “bordered on sexual harassment,” and Tom Cruise returned his three Golden Globe trophies.

As with everything in Hollywood, a type of groupthink approach will emerge in the coming months regarding celebrity participation at the January edition. But it is very unlikely that Mr. Cruise would show up, for instance, a potential problem since his most-recent film, “Top Gun: Maverick,” is a plausible contender for the best drama trophy.

Even in reform, the foreign press association has faced questions about conflicts of interest. In July, the H.F.P.A. agreed to sell its Golden Globe assets to Eldridge Industries, a holding company owned by the billionaire investor Todd Boehly. Members of the foreign press association became employees paid $75,000 annually for five years. A separate nonprofit entity was established to continue the H.F.P.A.’s philanthropic endeavors.

In August, Eldridge bought Dick Clark Productions. Eldridge is also a minority owner of several Hollywood trade publications, including The Hollywood Reporter. In addition, Eldridge owns a piece of the specialty film company A24, which often has movies in the awards hunt. Eldridge also owns part of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, which has long hosted the Golden Globes ceremony.

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