Eldridge Industries is taking over the Golden Globe Awards, which will be transformed into a private entity separate from the charitable and philanthropic programs of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which will be run as a not-for-profit entity.
HFPA members voted to approve the transfer of ownership to Eldridge, which is led by Todd Boehly, who has served as the organization’s interim CEO since last year. The HFPA went up for auction in May, and Boehly had been looking to buy the organization ever since. This spring, the group formed a special committee within the nonprofit to determine potential outside strategic interest in its organization and assets.
“This is a historic moment for the HFPA and the Golden Globes,” said HFPA President Helen Hoehne. “We have taken a decisive step to transform ourselves and adapt to this increasingly competitive economic landscape, both for awards and for the journalism market. Our special committee and our team of legal and financial advisors did an incredible job of reviewing, analyzing and comparing the options presented to us. We are excited to move forward with the mandate to ensure we continue to support increased diversity in all areas and maintain our life-changing charitable and philanthropic efforts.
According to the HFPA, Eldridge will create a new private company, which will acquire all intellectual property rights to the Golden Globes “and will be empowered to oversee the professionalization and modernization of the Golden Globes.” The transition will include staff development and a leadership team to lead the new organization.
As part of the transition, the group will add additional voters to the Golden Globes “to increase the size and diversity of voters available for the annual awards,” the group said. But it also calls into question what a for-profit entity will look like and whether it will raise further concerns about the organisation’s already often criticized conduct. There’s also the question of whether Boehly now owns both the Globes and, via Eldridge, MRC Live and Alternative – the company formerly known as Dick Clark Prods., which produces the Globes. (Boehly also reportedly aims to acquire MRC Live and Alternative, according to Puck. Such a move could still raise conflict of interest issues.) beyond what was announced today.
Also according to the HFPA, “Boehly was not part of the review, recommendation or approval process. In recent months, HFPA financial advisor Houlihan Lokey has produced several proposals submitted by a number of companies and investment groups.Each proposal was reviewed and analyzed by the HFPA’s Special Committee, along with its legal counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
The Special Committee was comprised of the three outside independent members of the HFPA Board of Directors: Sharlette Hambrick, Jeff Harris and Dr. Joanna Massey.
“This review process was comprehensive, deliberate and thoughtful to ensure fairness and accuracy,” Hoehne said. “In accordance with our statutes, the decision ultimately belonged to our members, who voted on the proposal. As we look forward to celebrating our 80th anniversary event in January 2023, we are incredibly excited about this new era for our association.
The HFPA’s decision comes after more than a year of turmoil for the nearly 80-year-old news organization that has thrived for the past 25 years on lucrative fees from NBCUniversal and other Golden Globe Awards partners. .
There’s still no confirmation on whether the Globes will return to NBC in 2023, but the new ownership structure is likely a step towards that potentially happening. As Variety reported in June, the HFPA had met with the networks’ major studios in the spring and early summer to list the changes the organization had made over the past year and a half. The HFPA touted the addition of 21 new members (nearly half of whom were women, and most of whom were people of color), as well as DEI training, a new diversity director, new advisors and consultants freelancers, an NAACP partnership, new policies on gifts, travel and conflict of interest and other regulations, among other reforms.
The HFPA has been in reform mode since the spring of 2021, when the Los Angeles Times detailed new allegations of questionable financial practices within the small island organization, as well as a paltry record of diversity and representation (including a complete lack of black members). The group responded by releasing a reform framework that included measures to increase the number of people of color in its ranks. The organization had already instituted new restrictions on gifts members could receive and payments for work on their committees.
Nevertheless, these accusations of questionable practices and the lack of member diversity led NBC to announce that it would not be broadcasting the Golden Globes in 2022.
In May 2021, the HFPA announced a timeline that would overhaul the organization by creating “five pillars of change: Accountability, Membership, Inclusion, Good Governance/Ethics, and Transparency.”
In January, without NBC as a broadcast partner, the HFPA moved forward with the 2022 Golden Globes — in a private ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, with no nominees. The 2022 ceremony instead focused on Golden Globes partners and philanthropic efforts.