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Catty Philip Berk Memoir Prompts Leave Of Absence From Golden Globes Vote Body HFPA

By | Sunday April 13, 2014 @ 6:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

berkEXCLUSIVE: After extreme pressure from other members over his memoir Signs And Wonders, four-term Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk has taken a six month leave of absence from the organization that is behind the Golden Globes. This happened last Friday, a compromise resolution to a problem that has been in the air since Berk published a book that covered his early days and especially the back and forth between HFPA members and celebrities involved in the Globes. Insiders said that the feeling among HFPA members was that Berk blindsided them with his book, took shots at them and a lot of Hollywood celebrities, and also took way too much credit for the success of the Globes. Perfectly positioned to be a tool during Oscar campaigns, the Globes has grown in prominence and TV ratings, even as some questioned whether the voting body has a right to wield such clout.

The leave of absence means that Berk loses his HFPA credentials for that long, though he can certainly go see movies on his own. The move was a compromise reached with current HFPA president Theo Kingma, who resisted calls for Berk to be given greater punishment. In addition to the leave of absence, Berk has been asked by Kingma to have the book de-listed from Amazon, which is selling it. The HFPA will get into this further, engaging with the publisher tomorrow.

“He wasn’t suspended, there was no vote by the members, because this is a journalist organization that respects the First Amendment,” said an insider. “Unfortunately, free speech covers stupid speech too.” Read More »

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UPDATE: HFPA’s Philip Berk Says He Didn’t Seek Golden Globes Offer From CBS

Freelance journalist Dominic Patten is covering the trial for Deadline.

UPDATE, 11:50 AM: Berk just said on the stand that he “did not ask” Moonves to make him an offer for the Golden Globes in 2010. In an apparent contradiction to the CBS chief’s deposition — which Deadline showed you exclusively yesterday and which is being played in court today — Berk testified that “I told him [Moonves] point-blank that I was not at liberty to discuss any license fee.” During a July 2010 lunch meeting in L.A. — Moonves testified Berk asked for the sitdown, while Berk said it was held at Moonves’ request — Berk said the two had a wide-ranging “off-the-record” conversation and he asked Moonves “hypothetically” what the Golden Globes was worth to CBS. Berk said Moonves told him “$25 million-$30 million and a five-year deal.” Berk said he wasn’t allowed to talk with Moonves about the Dick Clark Productions-NBC agreement to broadcast the Globes or the confidentiality clauses in it; DCP and NBC were already in talks to renew their agreement at that time, a deal they finalized in November 2010. The HFPA official said he had been “flattered” by the lunch invite and accepted because “I had heard rumors that Fox and CBS were interested in acquiring the Golden Globes.” Berk said he “did not recall” further conversations with Moonves over CBS bidding on the Globes.

PREVIOUS, 11:36 AM: Former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk said this morning … Read More »

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It’s Official: Les Moonves Won’t Testify In Person At Golden Globes Trial

Freelance journalist Dominic Patten is covering the trial for Deadline.

Judge A. Howard Matz this morning accepted a recommendation from lawyers on both sides that means CBS Corp chief Les Moonves will not have to testify in person in the ongoing Golden Globes TV rights trial. Instead, the court will hear testimony from Moonves’ August 2011 taped deposition in the case, which was brought by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association against Dick Clark Prods over who controls rights to the HFPA-run Golden Globe Awards telecast. The ruling means the court will see a videotape of Moonves’ deposition either later today or tomorrow, depending on how quickly HFPA lawyers can churn through their witness list. A deal, which was expected, was hammered out over the weekend by both parties, who prepared the recommendation to Matz arguing that anything Moonves would say live he already said in the deposition. Moonves’ testimony is of interest to the HFPA to determine whether CBS was interested in bidding against current rightsholder NBC for rights to air the awards show. Read More »

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He’s Baaack! Rude Ricky Gervais Returns For Threepeat To Host Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais is returning to host the Golden Globes for a threepeat on January 15th. True, the Oscars brought back Billy Crystal. But today’s news is more of a surprise because Gervais eviscerated most of the movie and TV stars on the premises during last year’s festivities. He even zinged the Hollywood Foreign Press Association itself and its then-president Philip Berk, saying in his introduction that Gervais had to “help [the HFPA president] off the toilet and pop his teeth back in.” Berk was clearly unamused, making it clear Gervais wasn’t winning a Globe. But now Gervais has the last laugh with this encore. The only question now is whether the HFPA reserved the right to vet Ricky’s monologue and script. Not that he’d necessarily pay any attention to that. So here’s the backstory as Deadline has previously reported it:

The fact is that suitable hosts for major awards shows aren’t found easily. So the HFPA decided to hold onto two-time Golden Globes host Gervais. NBC originally signed the British comedian to a two-year deal and always wanted him back. And Gervais in August announced that the network had invited him to return. But the HFPA was the holdout and “it’s their event. It’s their party,” as Ricky himself recently noted. The sides have been talking, albeit informally, and Gervais recently dined with reps for both NBC and HFPA in Paris. Nellie Andreeva reported there … Read More »

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