Golden Globes scrapped for "press conference"
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood's striking writers scored two victories on Monday by forcing Golden Globe Awards sponsors to cancel their traditional star-studded telecast and by reaching a deal to put writers back to work at Tom Cruise's film company.
With most nominees and presenters expected to boycott the Globes on January 13 rather than cross writers' picket lines, organizers said they were scrapping the usual gala ceremony in favor of an hour-long "press conference" to be carried live as a news event on NBC.
The Writers Guild of America previously refused to grant a special waiver allowing the Globes' producers to hire union writers, as the WGA did for Monday night's lower-profile Critics Choice Awards airing on cable channel VH1.
Cancellation of the annual three-hour-plus Golden Globes show sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association marks the latest casualty of the nine-week-old strike by some 10,500 WGA members against the major film and TV studios.
The Globes are closely watched as an indicator of likely nominees for the Oscars, Hollywood's top film honors, which also are under threat of WGA picketing next month. The wartime romantic epic "Atonement" leads this year's field of Globe contenders with a total of seven nominations, including a bid for best film drama.
The strike already has brought production to a halt on all scripted prime-time TV series and derailed several high-profile movie projects, idling thousands of behind-the-camera workers in the worst labor clash to hit Hollywood in two decades.
Negotiations aimed at ending the walkout collapsed last month in a hail of finger-pointing and angry rhetoric. The main sticking point has been disagreement over how writers should be paid for work distributed over the Internet.
OTHER STRIKE CASUALTIES Continued...