The Hollywood Foreign Press Association must be a glutton for punishment.
After weeks of rumors, the organization announced Wednesday that Ricky Gervais will be back to host the Golden Globes for a third year.
NBC, which broadcasts the ceremony, pushed heavily for Gervais to have another stint on the show, but many of the association's members opposed his return.
A year ago, the prospect of Gervais taking the stage again at the Beverly Hills Hilton seemed impossible. The British comedian presided over an insult-laden broadcast that poked fun at major stars such as Bruce Willis and Robert Downey Jr. and the non-profit organization behind the awards show.
Among other things he implied that the organization, which has been criticized for having lax voting standards, accepted bribes in return for nominations.
While the reception from HFPA members was frosty at times, the ratings were strong. The show averaged 16.99 million viewers for a 5 percent bump year-over-year.
After the show, Gervais said he did not plan on returning. However, his attitude softened. Last month word broke that he met with HFPA President Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly in Paris to discuss a possible return to hosting duties.
On the last Globes broadcast, Gervais had introduced Takla-O'Reilly's predecessor, Philip Berk, by saying that he'd helped Berk get off the toilet and put in his teeth.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association voted for the controversial British comedian’s return after meeting with NBC official Doug Vaughn, the group said.
It doesn't appear that all of the members are ready to welcome back the comic with open arms. The vote was apparently divided, with the organization admitting in a statement that "...not everyone is happy with the decision."
One such member was Judy Solomon, who told TheWrap she was upset by Gervais's comments last year. "Those are people who are our guests. You invite a guest, you don’t insult them," she said. "Ratings are fine, but I wouldn’t want to jeopardize the integrity of the assocation for things like that."
Bruised feelings aren't the only challenge facing the Globes next year. The group is pushing for a January trial date in its legal battle against Dick Clark Productions (DCP) over who controls the television rights to the show.
The HFPA sued DCP a year ago, accusing the longterm Globes producer of secretly signing a six-year extension to NBC's current agreement to air the telecast -- even though it has no commitment to produce the show.
If a trial takes place, a decision on the year-long standoff could hit right before the show is broadcast on January 15.