Nellie Andreeva

As the long courtship and quick departure of Oscar host-to-be Eddie Murphy proved this week, suitable hosts for major awards shows aren’t found easily. So the Hollywood Foreign Press Association may want to hold onto two-time Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais. NBC has always wanted him back and Gervais in August announced that the network had invited him to return as the Golden Globes host. He confirmed that to Access Hollywood tonight, singling out the HFPA as the holdout. “I think NBC wants me to do it, but [the] Hollywood Foreign Press have got to want me as well,” he said. “It’s their event. It’s their party.” The sides are talking, albeit informally, and Gervais recently dined with reps for both NBC and HFPA in Paris. But with only 2 months to go until the January 12th event, the HFPA has got to make its move soon before Gervais changes his mind again. Or gets invited by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for the Oscar hosting gig that is also vacant. Gervais tonight said (maybe joking, maybe not) that he could host both awards events at a discount price.

There is also the issue of potential celebrity defections if Gervais returns as host, as Hollywood star power has been the Globes’ biggest draw. I hear that so far there is only one A-lister who is threatening not to attend if Gervais emcees. Of course, the Industry can’t forget how much his second stint as Globes host last year stirred the pot with blunt one-liners targeting big-name celebrities attending the event and even the controversial HFPA itself sponsoring the show. Later, the HFPA reps distanced themselves from Gervais, saying that he “went too far” and “crossed the line”. That lingering resentment seems to be the obstacle to a formal offer for Gervais to return as a Golden Globes host.

The British comedian was originally signed by NBC to a 2-year deal. The network could revert to the Golden Globes’ longtime no-host format but doesn’t want to. That practice came to an end when Gervais was hired. Gervais at first dismissed the possibility of a three-peat immediately after his second time hosting. But he has been gradually warming up to the idea. In all recent interviews, Ricky has shown an eagerness to return as emcee. He confirmed to Access Hollywood tonight that he hasn’t been “officially” offered the job yet but admitted that the idea of going back behind the podium “is very tempting”.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.