The most heated Golden Globes battle this year won't be between Colin Firth and James Franco.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, creator and owner of the Globes, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing show producer — and partner on the awards telecast since 1983 — Dick Clark Productions of breach of contract.
The suit alleges that DCP secretly signed a six-year extension of NBC's current agreement to air the telecast — even though it has no commitment to produce the show.
The current agreement between the association and DCP ends after the 2011 awards show, set for Jan. 16. Under the terms of the current deal between the association and DCP, both split the show's net profit.
"DCP acts as though it has unilateral right to license the broadcast rights for the Golden Globe Awards on whatever terms it pleases, without HFPA's knowledge or authorization," the suit said.
It also accuses DCP of "attempting to assume complete control over the rights to the show."
"The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, knowing it has no case in a court of law, is attempting to try this case in the court of public opinion," a DCP spokesperson said in a statement. "We are confident the case has no merit in either venue. Our respective rights under the contract are clear. The HFPA cannot unilaterally change the basis on which DCP and the HFPA have done business for almost three decades."
NBC declined to comment.
The press association alleges that DCP exercised an option to continue producing the show after 2011, though it had no such option. NBC then extended the air rights with no standing to do so, the suit claims.
The association said DCP signed the deal with NBC "all behind HFPA's back and all the while pretending to negotiate a new contract with HFPA."
DCP is a unit of Red Zone Capital, a private equity firm headed by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The suit accuses DCP of trying to exploit Golden Globe-related marks, license the digital and other rights, create promotional campaigns, and sell sponsorships without approval. It said DCP is "trying to steal" the rights.
The suit seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction against DCP and Red Zone from using Globe trademarks for anything aside from the next show.