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Attorneys for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions are preparing for an August 30 jury trial in California federal court over TV rights to the Golden Globe Awards.
If a judge doesn’t grant summary judgment for either side, the trial could showcase some interesting witnesses and testimony. The HFPA, for instance, plans to call to the stand CBS Corp president and CEO Leslie Moonves, who will be asked to testify about negotiations to bring the Globes to CBS and what the network was prepared to offer. Meanwhile, 81-year-old Dick Clark himself, who hasn’t made too many public appearances since a 2004 stroke, might show up on the witness stand.
Before that happens, both sides are appearing before U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank, and laying out their arguments one last time.
HFPA is again contending that when it awarded rights to produce and license a Globes broadcast nearly two decades ago, the agreement was not intended to live in perpetuity. The Globes rights-holder says its agreement with DCP lasted a finite time and only had 8 renewal options.
In its papers to the court, HFPA takes some swipes at DCP, saying that by claiming perpetual rights to the increasingly popular and profitable Golden Globe Awards, DCP CEO Francis La Maina was able to engineer a nine-figure sale, a $14 million payday for himself, and was able to incur $165 million of debt by issuing junk bonds.
If the case gets to trial, HFPA plans to call to the stand Moonves, Hollywood attorney Joseph Calabrese (to testify about negotiations between HFPA and DCP), HFPA members Jorge Camara and Lorenzo Soria, NBCU TV president of west coast business operations Marc Graboff, La Maina, DCP CEO Mark Shapiro, Tennis Channel CFO William Simon, former CAA head of television business affairs David Tenzer, and others.
For their part, DCP has also laid out its case why the language in the agreements between the parties supports the theory it has a continuing right to produce and license the Globes and nothing that the HFPA presents can take back what was agreed to at the bargaining table in 1994.
DCP’s own list of possible witnesses includes Clark, former HFPA president Philip Berk, producer Barry Adelman, attorneys Joel Behr and Bryan Freedman, and a host of individuals who are said to be privy to what transpired at various HFPA meetings and about certain internal HFPA communications.
The showdown will also feature some of Hollywood’s biggest star litigators. For DCP, it’s a team led by Ron Olson and Marty Katz. For HFPA, it’s a team led by Dan Petrocelli.
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