August 16, 2011 5:34pm PT by Alex Ben Block
Golden Globes Trial Moved to Sept., Will Not Involve a Jury
The trial to determine who controls the rights to the Golden Globe Awards -- the Hollywood Foreign Press Association or Dick Clark Productions -- has been moved back a week and will now start on September 6 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
The two sides have also agreed that there will be no jury, but rather the case will be heard and decided by Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank. This means the trial will be shorter as there will be no need for jury selection. The trial, which is the first of two phases in the case, is expected to last about 8 days, instead of three weeks (which was the projected length if there was a jury).
While there are two phases to the case, this first phase is considered crucial, as it will decide the fate of the January 2012 Golden Globes telecast. If DCP prevails in phase one, then the show will be produced by DCP and air on NBC under the new contract that was negotiated last year between the producer and network.
If HFPA prevails in the first phase trial, then they would be free to find a new producer and sell the rights to the Globes to a different network. Both CBS and Fox have shown interest if the rights become available, and both would be expected to pay more than NBC is due to pay under the deal that DCP made.
The second phase of the case would deal with other claims, including HFPA's charge that DCP breached its contract with them.
The final status conference before the Sept. 6 trial has also been moved back a few days to August 25. At that time the judge will hear a number of motions from both sides, including a plea by DCP to renew its call for a summary judgment.
On August 8, Judge Fairbank had ruled against the DCP motion for summary judgment. She wrote in her ruling that she had found there was a genuine dispute about the meaning of the language in the HFPA contract with DCP, which the producer claims gave it perpetual rights to the Globes as long as they remain on NBC; and that DCP has the right to negotiate new deals with NBC for as long as it wishes.