By Joe Flint 

NBC said it will not broadcast the Golden Globes next year after several major entertainment companies and stars indicated that they would not participate in the awards show or work with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that oversees the event.

At issue is how the HFPA runs the Globes. The organization, comprised of 87 foreign journalists, has long been criticized by Hollywood executives for its small size and outsize influence. Specifically, the organization has been criticized for accepting paid trips and other perks from studios and cozying up to big stars in return for access. The group has also been under fire for its lack of diversity and earlier this year confirmed it had no Black members.

The concerns surrounding the HFPA operations were raised again earlier this year in a Los Angeles Times report. In response to the Los Angeles Times, the HFPA said, "None of these allegations has ever been proven in court or in any investigation, [and they] simply repeat old tropes about the HFPA and reflect unconscious bias against the HFPA's diverse membership."

The HFPA last week announced a new set of changes to address its diversity and oversight, including expanding its membership by 50% over the next 18 months and making changes within its executive ranks. "We understand that the hard work starts now and we remain dedicated to becoming a better organization and an example of diversity, transparency, and accountability in this industry," the HFPA posted on its website last week.

Those efforts were not enough to appease its critics. In the past few days, Netflix, Amazon and WarnerMedia said they would not participate in the Golden Globes unless the organization initiated a substantial overhaul of its operations. Celebrities including Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo also have spoken out against the group in recent days. Tom Cruise returned his three Golden Globe trophies for "Born on the Fourth of July," "Jerry Maguire" and "Magnolia" in protest, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

NBC said it believes the HFPA wants to reform but "change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right." NBC said it will not broadcast the Globes in 2022 and is "hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023."

In a statement Monday, HFPA board members said it vowed to reform. "Regardless of the next air date of the Golden Globes, implementing transformational changes as quickly -- and as thoughtfully -- as possible remains the top priority for our organization."

An NBC spokeswoman declined to comment on whether its contract with the Globes would allow HFPA to move the show to another outlet next year.

The Golden Globes for decades has been criticized by the Hollywood establishment. Hosts of the show, particularly Ricky Gervais, have made jokes about the organization during the broadcasts of the awards.

"Many talented people of color were snubbed in major categories. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about that. The Hollywood Foreign Press are all very, very racist," he said during his 2020 monlogoue.

Despite all of that, the show has been a solid performer in the ratings. It is seen as less stuffy than the Oscars with host and guest drinking throughout the event.

This year's show however sustained a 62% drop in viewers, much of which could be attributed to disinterested audiences during the Covid pandemic and a glitchy show mostly done online.

NBC's current deal still has several years left to run and the network pays $60 million annually in rights fees for the show, people familiar with the matter said. By comparison the Oscars are in the $100 million range.

John Jurgensen and Ellen Gamerman contributed to this article.

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 10, 2021 22:38 ET (02:38 GMT)

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