Dick Clark Productions Asks Court to Dismiss HFPA's Golden Globes Suit

DCP reasons that the parties' contract gives it the right to produce the awards show 'in perpetuity' as long as it stays on NBC.

Even as they work together to prepare for the upcoming Golden Globes, the lawsuit filed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in November charging dick clark productions (dcp) and its owner, Red Zone Capital Partners, with trying to hijack the high profile awards show continues. In the latest salvo, dcp is asking a federal court to dismiss the suit because the contract gives it the right to produce the show "in perpetuity" as long as it stays on the NBC television network.

The HFPA, says the new filing, "seeks to renege on the bargain it struck with (dcp) in 1993 and under which the parties have operated for nearly two decades. Because the HFPA no longer likes the deal it made, it alleges that the parties' agreement means something other than what it plainly says."

The HFPA, through a spokesman, responded Monday that the filing "is an entirely predicable part of the process," adding that they will "be filing our opposition to it at the end of the month. We are confident we will prevail."

The filing by dcp contends that it hold "exclusive" and "irrevocable" options to continue as producer of the main show and a pre-show, and that it doesn't need the HFPA's permission to extend the deal with NBC and its own right to produce the shows.

The filing says the "central contractual theory" behind the HFPA's legal claim is based on the contract, which does not say what they claim it says. As a result, says dcp, the HFPA's claims for breach of contract, trade infringement, false association and unfair trade practices "must be dismissed."

The HFPA said that dcp undertook an extension of the deal with NBC through 2018 without consulting them. The filing insists that dcp had no obligation to consult and was free to exercise its option and negotiate a new pact based on the past contract.

The HFPA contends that no contract is forever, but dcp is essentially saying in this case, it has the right to keep control over the Globes telecast as long as it can keep it on NBC.

Separately, in an interview with THR last week, HFPA President Phil Berk said that they are working with dcp on the upcoming show as they have in the past, and that the lawsuit is not an issue in their mutual goal of trying to produce the best possible show.

dcp also issued a statement to THR last week, after press reports about tension between them, that the suit is not an issue them in terms of preparing for the show on Sunday in Beverly Hills.

The next hearing date in the HFPA vs. dcp lawsuit, when this motion may be decided, is March 7, 2011 in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, before Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank.