Int'l broadcasters adjust in wake of recast Globes

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LONDON -- In the aftermath of the cancellation of the Golden Globes, leading international buyers are calculating the cost and impact of the writers strike while concerns mount that this year's Orange BAFTA Awards could also be affected by the fallout.

"This would have been our first year airing the Golden Globes, and we haven't got off to a great start," said Richard Woolf, head of Sky One, which had planned to debut the awards show in the U.K. "We're very sad that the Globes have been canceled."

The British satcaster, a major buyer of blue chip U.S. fare including "Lost," "Prison Break," "24" and "Bones" said the combination of red carpet glamour and familiar film and TV stars would have a strong appeal for British viewers.

"I think that we as a nation have become more interested in (U.S.) television and film, given that the gulf between our countries has disappeared," Woolfe said.

Sky had planned live coverage of the Golden Globes as well as a series of highlights packages and red carpet specials across the Sky Movies and Sky One channels that would have kicked off the awards season. It still hopes to bookend the awards season with a similar package of programming around the Oscars.

BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry said there had been a flood of inquiries about whether this year's British Academy Film Awards might be affected by the no-show for the Golden Globes show.

"Neither BAFTA nor our broadcaster is in dispute with the Writers Guild of America; whilst we hope for the sake of the whole international industry that the dispute is resolved, we look forward to recognizing and rewarding great filmmaking talent from around the world at our ceremony," Berry said.

Separately, one producer who is a member of both the British and American Academy orgs said there would be almost no circumstances under which the British Film Academy awards would not go ahead.

"It'll either be a room with no American talent or one filled with it," another British producer said. "But the British awards will almost certainly go ahead. The Orange British Academy Film Awards are scheduled for Feb. 10.

Sky's Woolfe said buyers of U.S. fare are making "week-to-week" planning decisions about how to cope with the absence of current U.S. fare, pointing out that local programming was enjoying strong audiences.

"We are having to make plans about what to do if the strike continues as each week goes by it affects our decision-making," he said. "I hope the strike gets resolved quickly. As a channel head, I want to bring new episodes of the best of American programming to Sky viewers."

Sky One is enjoying a strong run with locally produced reality fare including such shows as "Are You Smarter Than a Ten Year Old" and has high hopes for upcoming shows such as "Don't Forget the Lyrics" and factual reality shows including "Ross Kemp in Afghanistan."

"In planning terms we look at original programming as an alternative," Woolfe concluded.

Meanwhile, Canadian broadcaster CTV has decided to replace its planned broadcast of the "Golden Globes" with its regular Sunday night lineup of CBS' "The Amazing Race" at 8 p.m., NBC's "Medium" at 9 p.m. and NBC's "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" at 10 p.m.

Susanne Boyce, CTV president, creative, content and channels, said her network had been making plans in recent weeks in anticipation of disruption to the NBC telecast amid the U.S. writers strike.

"This was something we were worried about before Christmas, so we planned for future scenarios," she said.
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