Golden Globes Lawsuit May Not Begin Until July 2012

New judge wants to push the trial for Hollywood Foreign Press Association's suit against Dick Clark Productions to next summer; HFPA lawyers are pushing back

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's lawsuit against Dick Clark Productions — originally scheduled for this past September — may not go to trial until next July, documents filed in a Los Angeles federal court Thursday revealed.

The HFPA, which puts on the Golden Globes, is suing the show's long-time producer, Dick Clark Productions, accusing it of devising a sneaky way to renew its contract to air the annual awards show.

The trial was supposed to begin in September, but the judge got sick days beforehand, and the case was transferred to U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz.

Matz has since asked lawyers "whether the trial could be held in 2012, and specifically whether the latter half of March 2012 would be appropriate."

But that causes problems for the HFPA's lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, who is scheduled to try cases in February, March, April, May and July of 2012. The May case is expected to take six weeks, so Petrocelli won't be available until July.

That's a little too long, he and his colleagues wrote.

Also Read: Golden Globes Detente: NBC to Air Awards Show Jan. 15

In a document filed in court, the HFPA's lawyers wrote that "postponing trial until next summer will prolong the present uncertainty regarding the broadcast rights to the Golden Globes and undermine the substantial efforts of the parties and the Court to streamline the issues in this case."

The lawsuit centers on a contract Dick Clark Productions signed with NBC to keep airing the awards show through 2018. The production house says that when it extended its contract with NBC, it automatically extended its contract with the HFPA.

But the HFPA said Dick Clark Productions didn't have the authority to do that. The association claims that Dick Clark Productions didn't consult with HFPA leadership before negotiating the new NBC contract.

Under that deal, Dick Clark and the HFPA would receive an average of $21.5 million for every awards show. That revenue would be split evenly after overhead costs are removed, but the HFPA believes that the production company is being overpaid.

In September, the two sides agreed to something like a halt in the hostilities. They agreed that Dick Clark Productions will produce next year's Golden Globe Awards, which will be aired on NBC Jan. 15, 2012. Dick Clark Productions will produce the pre-show and the main show.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.