In Move to Save Golden Globes, HFPA becomes a for-profit organization

Eldridge Industries inherits the Golden Globe Awards, which will be transformed into a private entity separate from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s charitable and philanthropic programs and administered as a not-for-profit entity.

That HFPA Members voted to approve the transfer of ownership of Eldridge, which will be led by Todd Boehly, who has served as the organization’s interim CEO since last year. The HFPA went on the auction block in May, and Boehly had been attempting to buy the organization ever since. This spring, the group formed a special committee within the nonprofit to identify potential outside strategic interests 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 critical step forward in changing and adapting to this increasingly competitive economic landscape for both the awards and journalism market. Our select committee and team of legal and financial advisors have done an incredible amount of work to review, analyze and compare the options presented to us. We are excited to move forward with a mission to ensure we continue our support for increasing diversity in all areas and continue our life-changing charitable and philanthropic efforts.”

According to the HFPA, Eldridge will form a new private company that will acquire all rights to the Golden Globes’ intellectual property “and will have the authority to oversee the professionalization and modernization of the Golden Globe Awards. The transition will include the development of people and a leadership team to lead the new organization.”

As part of the transition, the group will add additional Golden Globes voters “to increase the size and diversity of voters available for the annual awards,” the group said. But it also begs the question of what a for-profit enterprise will look like and whether this will raise further concerns about the organization’s already much-maligned behavior. It also raises the question of whether Boehly now owns both the Globes and through Eldridge MRC Live and Alternative – the company formerly known as Dick Clark Prods that makes the Globes. (Boehly is also reportedly aiming to fully acquire MRC Live and Alternative, according to Puck. Such a move could raise further questions about conflicts of interest.) The HFPA said in its press release that it would not make any further statements or address the news about that beyond what was announced today.

According to the HFPA, “Boehly was not part of the review, recommendation, or approval process. In recent months, the HFPA’s financial advisor, Houlihan Lokey, has presented several submitted proposals from a number of companies and investment groups. Each proposal has been reviewed and analyzed by the HFPA’s Special Committee, together with its legal counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.”

The Select Committee consisted of the HFPA’s three external independent board members: Sharlette Hambrick, Jeff Harris and Dr. Joanna Massey.

“This review process was comprehensive, deliberate, and thoughtful to ensure fairness and accuracy,” said Hoehne. “According to our statutes, the ultimate decision rested with our members, who voted on the proposal. As we look forward to celebrating our 80th anniversary in January 2023, we are incredibly excited for this new era for our association.”

The HFPA’s move comes after more than a year of turmoil for the nearly 80-year-old press organization that has thrived over the past 25 years on lucrative fees from NBCUniversal and other Golden Globe Awards partners.

There’s still no confirmation as to whether the Globes will return to NBC in 2023, but the new ownership structure is likely a step forward in potentially making that happen. As diversity reported JuneThe HFPA had met with major studios on networks during the spring and early summer to compile the list of changes the organization had made over the past year and a half. The HFPA announced the addition of 21 new members (nearly half of whom were women and most of whom were black), DEI training, a new chief diversity officer, new independent advisors and advisors, an NAACP partnership, new Gift, Travel and Conflict of Interest Policies and Other Bylaws, among other reforms.

The HFPA has been in reform mode since the spring of 2021, when the Los Angeles Times detailed new allegations about questionable financial practices within the small, compartmentalized organization and its poor 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 org had already introduced new restrictions on gifts members could receive and payments for work on their committees.

Nonetheless, these allegations of questionable practices and a lack of diverse members prompted NBC to announce that it would not air the 2022 Golden Globes.

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.”

This January, without NBC as a broadcast partner, the HFPA pushed ahead with the 2022 Golden Globes — in a private ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, with no nominees in attendance. The 2022 ceremony instead placed an emphasis on the Golden Globes’ philanthropic partners and efforts.

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