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The continuing Writer's Guild strike has caused the producers of the Golden Globes awards to cancel the televised ceremony. A press conference, minus the coiffed and dressed stars, will be held. There's concern that the Oscars awards ceremony will be the next victim.

 

The fashion industry is very concerned. The "red carpet" offers designers the opportunity to showcase their goods to a worldwide audience, and the continuing interest is fed by the print media. WSJ:

 

Elie Saab, a design house known for couture gowns that sell at $20,000 and up, has built its brand by loaning dresses to celebrities in hopes they will wear them to high-profile events.

 

The house, based in Paris and Beirut, hit the big-time in 2002 when actress Halle Berry wore an Elie Saab gown as she accepted her Academy Award for Best Actress. Last year, three actresses wore Elie Saab to the Golden Globe Awards, including Kate Walsh, a then-star of the ABC drama "Grey's Anatomy." Ms. Walsh -- and her dress -- appeared prominently in In Style magazine's "The Look of the Golden Globes" feature soon after.

 

Now that Sunday's Golden Globe Awards ceremony has been canceled amid a strike by film and television writers -- and with the prospect of other possible award-show cancellations -- the fashion industry is having to consider a squeeze on its bottom line.

 

Exposure at the shows has amounted to tens of millions of dollars of free advertising for Elie Saab, says spokeswoman Marilyn Heston. The ceremony is a "major opportunity that is going to be missed," she says. The impact could be even greater if studio executives, wives of actors and other attendees return the Elie Saab gowns they bought at stores to wear to the ceremony. "Some people actually buy dresses, believe it or not," Ms. Heston says.

 

"It's no longer just a writers' strike," says Billy Daley, vice president for global communications at the privately held Michael Kors (USA) Inc. "It's an entertainment-industry issue, which means it's a fashion issue because they are so intertwined."

The abridged Golden Globes has precluded an opportunity for designer Rubin Singer to showcase his wares. WSJ's Katherine Rosman speaks to the young designer.

 

Last year, 20 million people watched the Golden Globes telecast in 150 countries, according to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that hosts the event. When a reporter asks a star on the red carpet to name her dress's designer, the brand exposure is massive. "Whether you are Coca-Cola advertising or Chanel trying to dress an A-list actress, you're doing it because you know there is a large audience," says luxury brand consultant Robert Burke of Robert Burke Associates in New York.

 

For large fashion houses such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Valentino, it's not just about the clothes. "When a Versace dress marches down the red carpet, it helps to sell that label's shoes, their bags, their perfumes," Mr. Burke says. "You can have a piece of what Nicole Kidman has, if only by wearing the right perfume."

 

And for smaller labels that don't have big advertising budgets, the impact of dressing a celebrity at the Golden Globes can reverberate for months or even years, as fashion magazines and celebrity tabloids publish and republish a particularly glamorous moment.

 

The media buyers are also concerned. Many commercials are Oscar specific. WSJ:

 

The Golden Globes are one thing, but what advertising executives are really worried about is the Oscars.

 

The decision to truncate the Golden Globes from a full-blown awards show to a news conference is sending chills down Madison Avenue as it looks ahead to next month's Academy Awards broadcast, the second-biggest advertising night of the year after the Super Bowl.

 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says the Oscars are still on schedule. But news that the Globes ceremony is being scratched left media buyers scrambling yesterday to come up with contingency plans in case the Oscars, too, are canceled or scaled back.

 

"You just can't shift the Oscar ads to any Thursday night show because some ads are created especially for that event," says Paul Tilley, managing director of creative at Omnicom Group Inc.'s DDB Chicago. "Oscar ads are often more expensive and elaborate."

 

In today's TiVo world, where ads have less of a chance of being watched, the Oscars and Super Bowl are the two events whose commercials generate the most buzz beyond the broadcast. Those ads often are the subject of watercooler chatter for days following the broadcast, and the commercials get heaps of pre- and post-show publicity driven by countless news stories about the ads.

 

The Oscars -- which are set to air Feb. 24 on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC -- brought in about $80 million in ads last year versus $27 million for the Globes, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The Oscars last year attracted 40 million viewers, double the number of people who tuned in to the Globes. General Electric Co.'s NBC is already feeling the fallout from cancellation of the Globes ceremony. Media buyers say the network is offering advertisers cash back and some buyers suggest the amount being returned could top $10 million. "We're working with each client on a case-by-case basis to come up with the best possible solution for everyone involved," an NBC spokeswoman says.

 

Unilever has an entire Oscar-specific campaign prepared for this year's show. The company has been running a contest that invites ordinary women to create a 30-second ad for its Dove Supreme Cream Oil Body Wash. Viewers will be asked to vote for their favorite during the live telecast, and the winning spot is slated to be shown later in the broadcast. The company enlisted Amy Brenneman, star of "Private Practice," which also airs on ABC, to help promote the contest. Unilever declined to comment on whether it is rethinking plans.

 

J.C. Penney Co., one of the show's most reliable advertisers, is expected to use the Oscars to launch an aggressive campaign for its American Living concept, a line of apparel and home furnishing that was created by a division of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. "At this time, the Oscars are still on, and there are no changes planned," says a spokeswoman for the retailer.

 

American Express Co., a longtime Oscars advertiser, has bought time this year as well. According to several people familiar with the matter, the company is in the process of signing a fashion celebrity to appear in its Oscar ad push, in an effort to tie in with the huge fashion component of the ceremony. American Express declines to confirm the talks, but says that the company is still committed to the broadcast. "If the show goes on, we will be there," says Joanna Lambert, a spokeswoman for American Express.

 

The Academy is proceeding "on the assumption that the strike will get settled or we can work out a deal" with the Writers Guild, says executive director Bruce Davis. Mr. Davis wouldn't specify what deal the Academy might seek but says there are multiple options. The Academy owns the Oscars and could pursue an interim agreement with the guild similar to the one struck by David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants Inc. But with advertisers and studios waking up to the possibility that the Oscars could be scuttled, the guild is unlikely to give up leverage.

 

"We're willing to talk," says Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America West, but added, "It will be difficult for us to work something out that allows the Oscars to continue in the traditional way, unless we have an overall deal." Mr. Verrone says the union hasn't officially decided whether it would picket the Oscars in the absence of a deal but says it "seems like a likely option."

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From eNews Online, the Oscars are apparently going to be broadcast, regardless (yeah!):

 

Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is insisting that, this year anyway, the Globes are not a sign of things to come and the 80th Annual Academy Awards will proceed as scheduled.

 

"We are moving forward with planning for our show for Feb. 24, and at this point in time we're doing all the things we normally would be doing," Academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger told E! Online Tuesday. "There's voting, we're having meetings about the red carpet and the usual things are in the works."

 

She said that more information about the Jan. 22 press conference during which this year's nominees will be announced should be coming next week.

 

"We're not panicking. We're preparing our show, and we're moving forward," Academy president Sid Ganis told the Associated Press.

 

Gil Cates, producer of ABC's Oscar telecast, added that the show will go on, with or without writers.

 

Without, it is, presuming the strike hasn't been settled by showtime. WGA West president Patric Verrone said Tuesday that the guild, which has already turned down the Academy's standard application to use clips of films and past Oscar broadcasts, will not be granting any requests to employ striking writers for the Feb. 24 ceremony.

 

Canceling the Oscars, and all the hullabaloo that goes with it, would cost the city about $130 million, economists say.

 

Nominations for the 2008 Academy Awards will be announced Jan. 22, after which we'll see whether the lure of Oscar gold will be any match for the guild's ironfisted will.

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Gil Cates, producer of ABC's Oscar telecast, added that the show will go on, with or without writers.

 

Without, it is, presuming the strike hasn't been settled by showtime. WGA West president Patric Verrone said Tuesday that the guild, which has already turned down the Academy's standard application to use clips of films and past Oscar broadcasts, will not be granting any requests to employ striking writers for the Feb. 24 ceremony.

 

 

The Golden Globes people said the same thing. Until they folded. No actor or director or set designer, etc will cross a picket line set up by the writers. Not one.

 

Disney, Viacom, etc are perceived by the writers as being the major holdouts to a fair settlement. Creating an excruciating cost to ABC / Disney could force a settlement of the strike. Or, maybe not.

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Since no one has said it yet I might as well do it. That scripted patter between the presenters on those awards shows is some of the lamest stuff I've ever heard. Cringeworthy. It's greeted by polite laughter by the insiders sitting in the room but I will bet that the TV audience scarcely smiles at those pathetic attempts at wit. Writers my ass. They don't need them to put on those shows.

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Lex, I'm with you on that. I've grown to dislike the Oscars show so much that I prefer to read about it the next day. The Golden Globes is more fun, because they're all drinking - it's a little more anarchic.

 

Oh, how I miss the days when Demi Moore and Geena Davis designed their own gowns, and Sally Field wrote her own acceptance speeches.

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They don't need them to put on those shows.

 

Shame on you... :ph43r:

Those writers weren't ashamed when they collected paychecks for producing such pathetic dreck.

 

Don't burst my bubble!

 

None of it is scripted! It is all true! And everything about these people is wholesome and natural and real.

 

<clapping hands> I believe, I believe, I believe... </clapping hands>

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I wish the writers well. There's plenty of outstanding stuff being written for TV and the movies and we need them back. Those awards shows though .... I've long found them pretty much unwatchable, specifically because of the writing.

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I wish the writers well. There's plenty of outstanding stuff being written for TV and the movies and we need them back. Those awards shows though .... I've long found them pretty much unwatchable, specifically because of the writing.

The good part about the lame writing is that everyone can ignore it and dish on the way the performers look while your eating/drinking something at your Oscar party.

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They don't need them to put on those shows.

No indeed, but they do need presenters, winners and an audience.

 

Last time I surfed past Jay Leno, he was taking questions from the audience. Does he get any guests?

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