NBC cancels Golden Globes for 2022, saying HFPA must first address its problems

Growing Hollywood pushback against the scandal-plagued Hollywood Foreign Press Association became an avalanche Monday, as NBC announced it won’t broadcast the HFPA’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony in 2022.

The network’s decision comes after an array of top-flight film and TV companies, including Netflix, Amazon and WarnerMedia, distanced themselves from the HFPA and the Globes in recent days.

The 87-member HFPA has been immersed in issues ranging from preferential treatment sought by its members to lack of racial representation in its ranks, which included no Black members, according to a Los Angeles Times investigation this year. 

In another blow to the HFPA and the Globes Monday,  A-lister Tom Cruise Monday returned his three Globes for “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Jerry Maguire,” according to Variety. That follows criticism of the group by other prominent A-listers, including Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo.

NBC said it wants to give the HFPA time to resolve its problems and hopes it will be possible to broadcast the event in 2023.

Golden Globe hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler during the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler kickstarted awards season Sunday as hosts of the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards, where TV shows and films were honored in a hybrid virtual/in-person show. (Photo: NBC)

“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.  As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes.  Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023,” NBC said in the statement.

Netflix, Warner Bros. boycotted Golden Globes

Netflix shared its decision to pull back in a letter Thursday from CEO Ted Sarandos to HFPA leadership, concluding the organization’s reform measures won’t do enough to resolve problems. 

“We’re stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made,” he wrote. “We know that you have many well-intentioned members who want real change – and that all of us have more work to do to create an equitable and inclusive industry. But Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor.”

In a letter Sunday to HFPA President Ali Sar, executives at WarnerMedia, which includes HBO, Warner Bros. film and TV studios, TNT and TBS, said the company “will continue to refrain from direct engagement with the HFPA, including sanctioned press conferences and invitations to cover other industry events with talent,” until stronger changes are implemented.

As it called for the HFPA to be more inclusive in its membership ranks, the letter also noted that WarnerMedia has had difficulty securing press conferences for Black performers and creators, whose work “has often then gone unrecognized in your nomination and awards process.”

It also cited press conferences “where our talent were asked racially insensitive, sexist and homophobic questions,” along with “demands for perks, special favors and unprofessional requests” from HFPA members. It asked the organization to adopt a code of conduct “that includes zero tolerance for unwanted physical contact of all talent and staff.”

NBC pays $60 million a year to air Globes 

The Globes are the main source of income for the HFPA – Variety reported in 2018 that NBC was paying $60 million per year for broadcast rights in an eight-year pact that runs through 2026 – and it also occupies a major spot in Hollywood’s annual awards season, setting the table with nominees and winners leading up to the Oscars.  It’s unlikely the Globes can move to another broadcast outlet under the terms of NBC’s contract.

The bulk of NBC’s payment goes toward production costs of the show. If there is no show, there may be little to pay. USA TODAY has reached out to HFPA representatives seeking comment on NBC’s decision and whether the Globes could still be held in 2022.

The Globes, held in the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills and promoted as “Hollywood’s biggest party,” traditionally attract a huge audience, second only to the Oscars (and sometimes Grammys) among awards shows. However, a socially distanced ceremony held in New York and Los Angeles on Feb. 28 attracted a record-low 6.9 million viewers., down 64% from the 18.4 million who watched the January 2020 show. Several other awards shows have hit their own record lows since then.

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