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Golden Globes 2024: Why Hollywood Embraces a New Beginning


There are few things Hollywood loves more than a season-long comeback narrative — think of Ke Huy Quan and Brendan Fraser at last year’s Oscars, who completed a zero-to-hero career revival to cheers and tears.

Sunday’s Golden Globes will offer a new twist on this age-old story: This time, it’s the show itself looking for a second chance.

Two years ago, the Globes — a busy forerunner on the road to the Academy Awards — were mired in a potentially fatal public relations crisis. After a 2021 Times investigation revealed a lack of diversity at the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which has long awarded the awards, and raised concerns about its ethics and financial practices, Hollywood avoided the Globes collectively. Tom Cruise returned his trophies and NBC took the show off the air for a year. Many believed it was time to roll out the red carpet for what has been billed as «Hollywood’s party of the year» for decades.

But the industry couldn’t abandon the Globes — and the marketing tool it provides — so easily. Now, after a series of sweeping reforms that overhauled the awards inside and out, dissolving the HFPA and turning the organization into a for-profit enterprise, the Golden Globes have found a new home on CBS, and organizers say the party is very much back. At a time when the film industry is still grappling with deep existential angst — with last year’s domestic box office down more than $2 billion from pre-pandemic levels — for many in Hollywood, the impulse to look back on the Globes’ rocky past is simply too strong. resist.

«I think everybody bought into it,» says Ricky Kirshner, who serves as executive producer of the telecast along with Glenn Weiss. “A lot of the questions that get asked about these things with the HFPA are, for lack of a better term, in baseball. People watching at home tune in to see their favorite stars and TV shows and movies, and we’re here to honor them and have a good time. I don’t think people at home really care about what happened in the past.’

Adds an awards consultant, who is not authorized to speak on the record: «I’ve had people ask me, ‘Wait, are the Golden Globes already over?’ in the year they did not happen. Nobody outside of Hollywood knows about any of these controversies.»

Viewers can expect several changes at this year’s Globes, which will be simulcast on Paramount+’s premium plan with Showtime, all designed to help attract larger audiences at a time when the awards show has struggled with declining ratings.

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The categories expanded from five to six nominees to give the show extra star power, and two new awards were introduced: one for stand-up comedy and the other for «Cinematic and Box Office Achievement». The latter aims to help squeeze in a crowd like “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (and give extra love to “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”). The trophy itself, symbolizing the attempted restart, has been redesigned.

The new blockbuster category at The Globes was met with some skepticism; in 2018, the Academy backed away from a plan to introduce a similar «best popular film» category after widespread criticism that it amounted to mere pandering. «Nobody cares,» says one veteran awards consultant, who declined to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the subject. “’Box Office Success’? So you say it made the most money? Big deal. It won’t go to ‘Oppenheimer’ or ‘Joh Wick’. It’s going to be ‘Barbie’ because it made the most money. There is no tension. Such stunts will not increase the rating.’

The group behind the awards show has also been overhauled since billionaire investor Todd Boehly completed his acquisition of the Globes last year. The awards have historically been voted on by fewer than 100 HFPA members, who have often been notoriously susceptible to being wooed by studios. This year’s nominees were chosen by a new voting body of 300 journalists from 75 countries, more than half of whom identify as ethnically or culturally diverse, all governed under the auspices of the newly formed Golden Globes Assn. code of conduct and restrictions on accepting donations.

Still, some dissidents inside the organization and outside observers looked askance at the $75,000 salaries paid to former HFPA members, arguing that the practice increased the influence of money inside the voting group.

While previous hosts such as Ricky Gervais and last year’s host Jerrod Carmichael have often cracked jokes at the expense of the often mocked awards, this year’s host, comedian Jo Koy, is expected to take a lighter approach. «A lot of his comedy is family, so I don’t know that it’s going to be as mean as you’re hoping,» says Kirshner.

As the industry faces a bruising year marked by a bitter double strike by actors and writers, the show’s creative team are determined to build on the show’s reputation for delivering a relaxed, boozy night that doesn’t take itself as seriously as the Oscars. (To further improve the mood, winners and presenters will receive a Gift Bag worth $500,000.)

«We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak,» says Weiss, who will have 72 cameras covering the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton to create an immersive experience for the viewer. «We’re really looking for it to make it feel like you’re at a party when you watch it.»

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However, the road back for the Globes was bumpy and the brand value, at least on paper, was significantly reduced.

Amid the fallout from The Times’ investigation, NBC negotiated a new deal to air the ceremony in 2023 for a much more modest fee than the $60 million the network paid in its previous deal. The Network believed that the HFPA had made a good faith effort to resolve concerns raised about its membership and practices.

While NBCUniversal executives were privately pleased with last year’s telecast, according to Nielsen data, the show drew an all-time low of 6.25 million viewers — about a third of 2019’s 19 million viewers. Ratings for awards shows have generally spiraled downward in recent years as younger viewers they prefer to watch clips on social media and YouTube rather than sit through a three-hour broadcast.

As they searched for a new home for the awards last year, Boehly and Jay Penske, whose Penske Media Corp. shares ownership of the Globes, have explored a partnership with the streaming service to try to capture more of these younger viewers. «I want to be able to have a conversation with other streaming platforms where the viewers are,» Boehly told The Times in late 2022. «Because I’m not convinced that in three years the average age of the broadcast network won’t exceed the age of the audience we want to reach.»

Netflix, which will stage the Screen Actors Guild Awards for the first time in February, received a bid for the Globes, as did Amazon, but the streaming giants rejected the show, believing the deal would now be seen as picking up damaged property. networks rejected.

At the same time, live broadcasts now attract a premium from advertisers looking to reach viewers in real time, making the Globes, even with their baggage, a relatively attractive proposition for the networks.

NBCUniversal made an offer in March to hold the ceremony in 2024, which was rejected by the new owner. CBS turned down the Globes twice before agreeing to a one-year deal that poses no financial risk to the network. According to several people familiar with the deal, the license fee is less than $10 million plus a percentage of advertising revenue received by CBS. (The network has its own history with the Globes, airing it for two years in the early 1980s before dropping it after a surprise nomination for actress Pia Zadora raised ethical questions.)

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A CBS representative declined to comment on the terms of the new deal.

While financial upside for 2024 may be limited, a successful night could set the Globes up for a more substantial bid. CBS, which also airs the Tonys, Grammys and Emmys (the latter in rotation with the other broadcast networks), will have a short window of exclusivity to negotiate for next year’s Globes, according to sources familiar with the arrangement. But Boehly and Penske will be able to shop the show again if they believe they can get a better deal.

CBS is making every effort to make the telecast a success, preempting its Sunday devotion to «60 Minutes,» so the Globes can benefit from a direct audience lead from the late-afternoon NFL game. «We have a great lead, and CBS will be promoting people to stay tuned to the show throughout their games,» Weiss says. “That’s a blessing and we appreciate it.

In the end, though, it’s the stars that make the awards show come alive, and that’s always been the case with the Globes in particular. And despite all the problems that have plagued the awards over the years, that bond has proven durable, helping the show survive the numerous scandals that could have destroyed it.

In 2018, then-HFPA president Meher Tatna acknowledged the show’s complicated history on the occasion of the show’s 75th anniversary: ​​“We were thrown off the air and then brought back again. There was a mix-up with the FCC. One year we were outcasts, then the next it was back to normal. … There has been both good and bad press. We’re still here.»

Whatever lingering concerns celebrities and publicists may have about the Globes will likely fade into the background during Sunday’s show as the industry joins hands and collectively jumps back into the pool to embrace another chapter of the beleaguered awards.

“We have a really high yes percentage when it comes to RSVPs,” says Weiss. «If you look at our list of nominees, there are some great names coming to this party and we’re going to bring them right into your living rooms.»

«People may not have liked the HFPA, but they legitimately liked the show,» says an awards consultant. «It was a fun night – something you never hear people say about the Oscars.»

Times writer Meg James and columnist Glenn Whipp contributed to this report.

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