Peter Tolan on the HFPA: ‘They’re a Bunch of Whores From Other Countries’

Moderating a panel of top showrunners, the “Rescue Me” creator has some choice words for Golden Globes voters

Last Updated: December 8, 2010 @ 10:14 PM

How do you really feel about the Golden Globes, Peter?

Moderating a Hollywood Radio TV Society lunchtime panel packed with top TV showrunners Wednesday at the Beverly Hilton, "Rescue Me" creator Peter Tolan certainly didn't help his show's chances for a Golden Globes nomination this year.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association "is really just a group of whores from other countries," the typically glib Tolan said, introducing the topic of awards to the wide-ranging discussion. "It's really an excuse to go out with people who don't speak English that well and maybe win a trinket. So f*** the Golden Globes."

Of course, for anybody familiar with Tolan's often funny, freewheeling commentary on HRTS panels, tongue-in-cheek jibes aren't out of his norm.

But just in case there was any confusion about his intent, Tolan — who has seen his long-running FX series garner only one nomination from the HFPA, coming in 2005 for star Denis Leary — reiterated his position: "I'm not prone to hyperbole, but the foreign press really is a bunch of whores."

Well, there you have it. Or, as one attendee pointed out afterward in the elvator ride down to the Beverly Hilton parking lot: "I hope Peter knows that the trades are going to have headlines saying he called the HFPA a bunch of whores."

Not only them, apparently.

Moderating a panel that featured Shane Brennan ("NCIS," "NCIS: Los Angeles"), Matt Nix ("Burn Notice," "The Good  Guys"), Roberto Orci ("Hawaii Five-O," "Fringe"), Kurt Sutter ("Sons of Anarchy") and Dan Schneider ("iCarly," "Victorious"), Tolan also took aim at the Television Academy's Emmy voting procedures, stating that his industry peers are simply too busy to vote in an informed way.

"The voting procedures are deeply flawed," he said. "Frankly, I feel the TV critics should take over the process. It's their job to watch this stuff."

That sentiment was seconded by the oft-critical Sutter, who has seen "Sons of Anarchy" largely shunned by the TV Academy: "We got a (Television Critics Association) nom, and frankly, that carries a lot more weight."

Outside of awards, the broad panel discussion touched on what it's like for a showrunner to work for two different networks at the same time.

Nix, who produces "Good Guys" for Fox and "Burn Notice" for USA Network, put it this way: "I find myself being like the guy with two girlfriends. I'm always saying, 'No baby, she means nothing to me.'"

Brennan, who oversees two "NCIS" iterations for CBS, advanced that analogy: "Well, I've got two girlfriends in the same bed," he said.

The showrunners were also asked about the inspirations for their series. Sutter confirmed the obvious for "Sons of Anarchy": "Basically, I just f**in' ripped off 'Hamlet' and slapped a (motorcycle gang) motif around it," he said.

The panel was also polled by Tolan about their worst job ever.

Sutter sold vibrating pillows in his 20s (a discussion that inevitably led, among the all-male panel, to X-rated quips about Sutter's largely female clientele).

Nix, meanwhile, worked as a low-level assistant for Turner Network Movies in the 1990s during the time the company was being bought out by Time Warner.

Due to attrition, by the time the conglomerate took over the Atlanta-based company, Nix said he was practically the only one in the building … save for founder Ted Turner.

"My job duties were to show up in the morning, leave at night and talk to no one," Nix recalled.