Big changes are afoot for the Golden Globe Awards now that Dick Clark Productions and Todd Boehly’s Eldridge have acquired the assets of the awards from the nonprofit Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which will shutter as the Globes franchise moves into a new era.
The new owners will use the assets and the cash on hand from the HFPA to establish the Golden Globe Foundation, which will continue on the HFPA’s tradition of charitable giving. The awards show itself and related assets will now be part of the for-profit operations of Dick Clark Productions, which has long been allied with the HFPA for the awards show. The move out of the HFPA’s nonprofit status will allow the Globes to pursue many more commercial opportunities than were possible under the HFPA regime.
HFPA’s current president, Helen Hoehne, said the deal had been approved by the association’s roughly 95 full-time members. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Proceeds from the HFPA sale to Dick Clark Productions and Eldridge, will go to the Globes Foundation to enhance its coffers for charitable giving.
“We are excited to close on this much anticipated member-approved transaction and transition from a member-led organization to a commercial enterprise,” said Hoehne.
Boehly, who acquired Dick Clark Productions more than a decade ago, called the transaction “a significant milestone” in the 80-year history of the Globes.
“My partners at DCP and I are grateful to Helen and team for their commitment to the successful implementation of a robust approach to governance, the expansion of the diverse and international voting body, implementing a professional, safe and accountable environment, and trusting new ownership with a new direction for the Globes,” said Boehly, who is chairman of Eldridge.
“As stewards of the Golden Globe Awards, our mission is to continue creating the most dynamic awards ceremony on live television viewed across the world,” said Jay Penske, who is CEO, chairman and founder of Penske Media, and CEO of Dick Clark Productions. “We have a great team in place to grow this iconic brand and captivate new and existing audiences to celebrate the very best in television and motion pictures.”
Variety parent company Penske Media is the owner of Dick Clark Productions.
The HFPA was formed in 1943 as an outgrowth of several predecessor press clubs for expat journalists working in and covering Hollywood. Correspondents for Britain’s Daily Mail led the charge. The group split into two camps — the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association and the Foreign Press Association of Hollywood. The two were reunited under the HFPA banner in 1955.
The HFPA became a big-league player in Hollywood in the 1990s, when it began collecting tens of millions of dollars in licensing fees annually for the Golden Globe Awards, especially after it began a long-running partnership with NBC. After that the HFPA stepped up its charitable giving to Hollywood and media industry-related causes. Per the HPFA, the organization has distributed more than $45 million to 70 charities over the past 26 years.
But the higher profile also brought more scrutiny of HFPA practices around the awards. Controversy about the group’s opaque activities and questionable behavior by some members over the years had bubbled up for years but the association went into full-fledged crisis mode in 2021 when the Los Angeles Times reported that the organization had no Black members, and it offered other unflattering details about the association’s handling of the awards, including some instances of the HFPA paying fees to members for participating in the Globes judging.
The Times expose led to a backlash against the Globes from Hollywood’s creative community. Influential personal publicists for top talent created a coalition of sorts to pressure the HFPA to institute reforms. NBC backed out of carrying the 2022 telecast, citing the storm surrounding the HFPA. Over the past two years, the HFPA implemented a number of recommended steps such as the hiring of a dedicated diversity officer, and it significantly expanded the voting body for the Globes, if not the membership of the HFPA itself.
Earlier this year, the HFPA disclosed that the voting body assembled for the 2024 competition will be a total of 310 journalists from outside the U.S. That group, which includes the 95 current members of HFPA, will stay in place for the coming awards cycle.
In January, the Globes returned to NBC under a one-year license deal. At present, Dick Clark Productions is shopping the awards to network and streamer buyers to find a new TV home for the event that has become an important precursor to the Academy Awards. This also comes amid a challenging environment for awards shows in general amid the industry’s transition to streaming and on-demand platforms. In recent years, the Academy of Country Music Awards have relocated to Amazon Prime Video while Netflix has signed on to carry the SAG Awards starting next year. Bringing viewers to the screen in numbers for live telecasts such as awards shows is still an uphill climb for streamers accustomed to serving up content on an on-demand basis.
The decision to “wind down” the HFPA, as it was described in the news release announcing the transaction, indicates that the existing leadership and new regime at Dick Clark saw a better path forward for the Globes by initiating the nonprofit/for-profit split.