HFPA Pushes for January Trial in Suit Against Dick Clark Productions

If granted, the two sides will face off in court prior to this year’s Golden Globes

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is pushing for a January trial date in its legal battle against Dick Clark Productions over who controls the television rights to the Golden Globes. 

If granted, that would mean that the two sides will face off in court prior to the broadcast of the annual awards show. 

Also read: Battle for the Golden Globes: Foreign Press Sue Dick Clark Prods.

The HFPA  sued Dick Clark Productions (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.

"HFPA submits that time is of the essence," attorneys for the organization wrote in a court filing. "The issues to be determined at the trial will resolve the exclusive ownership of the broadcast rights to the Golden Globes and whether HFPA can put the rights out to bid in order to maximize their value."

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

Matz had asked attorneys for DCP and HFPA whether the trial could be held in the later half of March 2012.The HFPA says that further delay will mean that networks will fill up their broadcasting slates, depressing the market for rights to the show. 

The organization the trial to be held in the first week of January 2012, but attorneys for DCP argue that will jeopardize the Jan. 15 show, causing "scheduling conflicts for witnesses who are involved with its preparation, production, and broadcast." 

The producers have maintained that under its agreement with the HFPA, its contract to oversee the highly rated show automatically renewed the minute it signed a new seven-year contract with NBC to air the Globes. That agreement gives the two companies $21.5 million per show. The revenue is shared 50-50, after overhead costs are removed.

The HFPA, however, thinks it could get a sweeter deal on the open market. 

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report