Row erupts over Ricky Gervais return as Golden Globes host

Organisers have until Friday to decide whether to ask back controversial comic

A row has broken out over whether Ricky Gervais should return to host next year’s Golden Globe Awards.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association which puts on the ceremony, is said to be deeply divided on whether to ask him back for a third time. Last year the comedian made headlines with his script that repeatedly mocked guests and nominees.

With the ceremony just two months away, the HFPA needs to decide by Friday (November 18), but while there is a split within ranks, both sides are angry with NBC, who broadcasts the ceremony, for pressuring them into having Gervais back.

A source close to the discussion told Deadline: “NBC has put the HFPA in a lose-lose situation. If the Hollywood Foreign Press says ‘Yes’ to Ricky, it risks turning the Globes into The Ricky Gervais Show and leaving the impression that they’re annually throwing a great party while inviting someone who humiliates all the guests. If it says ‘No’, the HFPA looks like it has no sense of humour about itself.”

The problems is, if you have Ricky, the show tends to wind up being all about him and how mean he can be. he effectively dwarfs the importance of the ceremony itself.

However, the swell in ratings and interest in the two years that Gervais is thought to be the biggest priority for the broadcasting channel. “There are those who feel that ratings and revenue are what the HFPA needs to focus on most,” continued the source. “Of course that’s all NBC is interested in. The other faction believes that without Ricky, you may lose a little in viewership but wind up better protecting the brand.

“Some think the job of a host should be enhancing everyone’s experience and making sure they all have a good time. But that isn’t where Ricky’s head is at. He tends to make it all about his career and all about him. The question the association has to answer now is, is the boost ultimately worth the price? Nobody really knows which way it’s going to go yet. But what NBC needs and what’s in the best interests of the HFPA may be two very different things.”

The source added that at the moment, the pro-Gervais camp appears to have a slight advantage and that should Gervais ultimately be invited back, the HFPA could well reserve the right to vet his monologue and script. “Not that he’d necessarily pay any attention to that. He could promise to be a good boy and then turn around and do whatever the hell he felt like doing.”