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Golden Globes curtailed due to writers’ strike

Fans of the red carpet extravaganza that is the annual Golden Globe Awards presentation were disappointed in 2008, when the lavish ceremony was canceled due to the Writers Guild of America strike that began the previous fall. Under pressure from striking writers and the actors who threatened to boycott the presentation as a gesture of support, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association decided in early January that the usual ceremony would be supplanted by a straightforward news conference announcing the winners.

On January 13, the no-frills presentation took place in the Beverly Hilton Hotel; it aired on E! Entertainment Television and the TV Guide Network. NBC, normally the official broadcaster of the Golden Globes, held its own version of the awards presentation, in which Billy Bush and Nancy O’Dell, co-hosts of the NBC entertainment newsmagazine Access Hollywood, read the list of winners at a slight delay from the Foreign Press’s announcement. In previous years, NBC had earned around $25 million in ad revenue for the Globes broadcast, and the curtailed awards reportedly cost the network $10 million to $15 million in lost revenue.

The simultaneous Golden Globes ceremonies went ahead after a struggle among NBC, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions, the production company responsible for the telecast. Having already bought the rights to broadcast the Golden Globes, NBC wanted to recoup some of its predicted losses in advertising by maintaining exclusive rights to air the awards news conference. Instead, the Foreign Press Association opened the Hilton conference to all news media, and NBC decided to stage its own Globes presentation.

Members of the Writers Guild of America had gone on strike on November 5, 2007, to pressure the studios to give them a stake in the revenue generated from the Internet distribution of movies, television shows and other content. In all, the strike was far more damaging than the studios had anticipated, shutting down more than 60 television shows and costing the networks tens of millions of dollars in advertising before it finally ended on February 12, 2008.

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