In the latest iteration of a development battle in Beverly Hills, Wanda Group has seized control of the Beverly Hilton’s unofficial annual ad campaign: the Golden Globe Awards.
Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda group acquired Dick Clark Productions for $1 billion last Friday. The company produces the broadcast of the Golden Globes ceremony, held annually at the Hilton. The hotel is featured prominently in the celebrity-packed, widely watched red carpet pre-show, and is mentioned on air at the beginning of the broadcast before the opening monologue.
There was gossip circulating the real estate industry that Wanda Group’s Beverly Hills subsidiary — which has proposed a hotel and condo development that is going through Beverly Hills City Council hearings this week — would steal the award show from its development rival, Hilton owner Beny Alagem. Alagem is hoping voters will approve a 26-story condo tower on the Hilton site, which would compete with Wanda’s complex next door. But a developer on the project said he and his partners won’t be moving the award show.
Jay Newman of Athens Group, which has partnered with Wanda’s Beverly Hills subsidiary on its development, said the Dick Clark acquisition was an entirely separate venture he could not comment on, but he noted that One Beverly Hills would not have the space or the infrastructure to host the Globes. One Beverly Hills, however, could be “complementary” to the Beverly Hilton during the awards, Newman said.
Since Wanda is not taking the event to its own premises, the situation is awkward. Alagem will have to tolerate the parent company of his competitor inside his house once a year, calling the shots at the hotel’s marquee event.
Alagem’s representative Marie Garvey declined to comment on the production, referring The Real Deal to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the awards.
“It is not appropriate to answer details as it is [the] HFP’s event, not Beverly Hilton,” she said.
The tension between the developers stems from their competing projects on adjacent parcels at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards at the unofficial gateway to Beverly Hills. Both developments would include a mix of condos and hotel rooms, and both are awaiting final approval — Wanda from the council this week, and Alagem from voters in an initiative on tomorrow’s ballot.
Dick Clark Productions was founded in 1957 and over time became a factory of American pop culture, with the TV shows “Bloopers” and “American Bandstand.” The company’s current portfolio includes two other awards show, the American Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards.
Wanda has been growing its Hollywood holdings, which include AMC Theaters and a majority stake in Relativity Media. Wanda also acquired movie studio Legendary Entertainment and is in the process of building what will be the largest television and movie production facility in China.