Golden Globes news conference plan draws fire

Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:17pm EST
 
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An NBC News plan to exclusively produce, televise and profit from a news conference announcing Golden Globe winners drew fire from media experts who said on Thursday it further blurred a fuzzy line between TV journalism and entertainment.

"It's an entertainment enterprise under the guise of news," said Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the Florida-based Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for professional journalists. "Normally the people who host the news conference don't get to profit from the commercials."

The unusual Golden Globe Awards news conference, which will take place on Sunday, was arranged hastily this week after organizers scrapped the traditional ceremony honoring film and TV performers because of the threat of picket lines by screenwriters on strike against major Hollywood studios.

Instead of a three-hour-plus gala consisting of movie stars walking a red carpet and accepting awards on stage, this year's event is reduced to an hourlong announcement of winners by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, sponsor of the awards.

No stars are expected to attend, and much of the live broadcast may be filled with video clips of nominees and winners, according to industry watchers and news reports.

NBC has yet to reveal the exact format of the telecast except to say it will be preceded by a taped two-hour "Dateline NBC" special on the Golden Globes hosted by Matt Lauer of NBC's weekday morning show "Today."

Packaging a televised "press conference" -- as the show was described by the HFPA -- with a "Dateline" special allows NBC to retain some semblance of an awards event that in recent years has generated $15 million to $20 million in advertising revenue for the General Electric Co-owned network.

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<p>Jorge Camara, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, speaks prior to the nominations announcement for the 2008 Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California December 13, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>