Judge hears final arguments in Globes TV dispute

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By ANTHONY McCARTNEY, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorneys for the journalists' group that organizes the Golden Globe Awards and its longtime producers offered a federal judge dueling versions of what a disputed $150 million broadcast deal means to each side.

An attorney for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association likened the deal to enslavement, arguing that if it is upheld it will mean that the organization that has hosted the glitzy awards gala for nearly 70 years will lose key control over its signature event.

Attorneys for dick clark productions told U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz that the case was merely an attempt by the HFPA to cut it out of the deal and take a larger share of the show's profits.

After nearly four hours of final arguments, Matz told both sides it would take him some time to sift through the case and render a decision. The judge had urged the two sides to settle, telling them he would declare a clear winner and his decision wouldn't extract the show from more legal wrangling.

Although the Globes aren't a reliable predictor of who will win on Oscar night, it has remained a key source of buzz in recent years as three-time host Ricky Gervais lobbed caustic barbs at Hollywood's elite and the evening's guests and their fashion are analyzed for days.

The production company negotiated a deal in 2010 to keep the Globes on NBC through 2018, although the HFPA contends it lacked the authority to enter the agreement and sold the rights for less than they were worth.

The company, also known as dcp, contends a 1993 agreement gives it rights to work on the show for as long as it airs on NBC. That arrangement, dcp attorney Marty Katz said, was to ensure that the company wasn't cut out of the show after restoring its reputation after it lost its network deal due to scandal.

He said the HFPA wants to "take away an enormous piece of the pie from dcp."

The two sides currently split profits from the show equally.

Katz said evidence shown during the nine-day trial proved that the HFPA has known it was linked to the production company for nearly a decade before it sued in November 2010.

HFPA attorney Daniel Petrocelli said the association had to wait until producers negotiated the 2010 deal after they had been repeatedly told not to. He urged Matz to invalidate the deal and find that the company does not have a right to work on the show as long as it airs on NBC.

He said business partners had the right to split the same way married couples can get divorced, and he accused dcp, which is no longer owned by entertainment pioneer Dick Clark, of being dishonest with the association.

The two groups have worked on the Globes for nearly 30 years, but not without tension and acrimony that is unfair to the HFPA, Petrocelli said.

"They have to work all year with people they don't trust, who cheated and betrayed them," Petrocelli said.

"They can't go anywhere," he said. "They're chained."

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP

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