Dec 05, 2020
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Front Page, Industry News

NBC sues over ‘Project Runway’ move

LOS ANGELES – It’s gotten ugly behind the scenes at “Project Runway.”

In a bombshell announcement, “Runway” producer the Weinstein Co. said Monday that Bravo’s signature series will move to women’s cable channel Lifetime in a five-year deal, starting with its sixth season in November.

Bravo’s parent company NBC Universal countered by filing a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Weinstein Monday aimed at preventing “Runway’s” jump to Lifetime.

“Runway” has broken ratings records for Bravo, where it has aired for four seasons. Casting on the fifth cycle is under way.

The suit, filed in New York Supreme Court, claims that NBC Universal and Weinstein had been negotiating for more than a year over exclusive rights to additional seasons of the show, including the sixth, and says that Weinstein “threatened to take future cycles of the program to a competing television network unless (NBC Universal) agreed to pay many millions of additional dollars to Weinstein to acquire a ‘package’ that included television rights to second-tier Weinstein films unrelated” to “Runway.”

Those films include “Miss Potter,” “The Great Debaters,” “Derailed,” “Bobby,” “Transamerica” and “The Nanny Diaries,” which Lifetime also acquired as part of its deal with Weinstein.

NBC Universal’s suit also claims that after Weinstein signed the deal with Lifetime on Feb. 7, the company continued to “engage in sham negotiations” with NBC Universal over those rights and “intentionally concealed” the fact that Weinstein had entered into an “invalid agreement” with Lifetime since NBC Universal has right of first refusal on the show.

The suit claims that Weinstein co-chairman Harvey Weinstein assured NBC Universal that it would have the opportunity to match any other network’s offer.

“NBC Universal has continuing legal rights related to ‘Project Runway,’ including a right of first refusal to future cycles of the series, which the Weinstein Co. unfortunately has refused to honor,” a spokesperson said. “NBC Universal regrettably had no alternative but to bring legal action to enforce its rights to this program, including the right to decide whether it is in the best interest of the company to continue to air the show under the proposed financial terms.”

For its part, Weinstein claims that “NBC has sued to try to disrupt the series moving to Lifetime” after “declining to compete for the right to have” the show.

“We believe that this lawsuit is without merit,” Weinstein counsel David Boies said. “While good for the market for lawyers, it is always unfortunate when parties try to win in court what they have lost in the marketplace.”

One source close to the show called the suit “sour grapes” on the part of NBC Universal, while other sources insisted that Bravo simply wasn’t willing to pony up the license fee to keep “Runway,” allowing Lifetime to step in and scoop it up.

Lifetime Networks president and CEO Andrea Wong declined to talk about the lawsuit, saying only that “we have a signed contract.”

Asked how the deal came about, Wong, who said she’s a fan of the show, said only that “Harvey and I were talking about the opportunity to work together. This came up, and I jumped at the opportunity to get it.”

In a statement, Bob and Harvey Weinstein thanked NBC Universal and Bravo for “all their contribution and support.”

“Today’s announcement is a celebration of all of our success and having Lifetime’s unique cable reach will ensure that the show will continue to grow and expand in the years to come,” the duo said.

Host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn also will move to Lifetime with the show. It’s unclear whether judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia also will come along, though Wong said she “plans to keep the show exactly the way it is.”

Wong also noted that Lifetime reaches 7 million more homes than Bravo and has double the total-day rating among women. She also pointed out “Runway’s” strong ratings among women.

“It’s clearly a leading show for women, whether cable or broadcast, and Lifetime is the No. 1 network for women,” she said.

NBC Universal wants a court order stopping Weinstein from granting rights to future cycles without first honoring the first-look deal and to declare they are entitled to those rights. It seeks damages but not a specific amount, only that “money damages would be inadequate to protect” its interests because it would not include compensation for future cycles and any spin-off.

Source: Reuters

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Front Page, Industry News

NBC sues over ‘Project Runway’ move

LOS ANGELES – It’s gotten ugly behind the scenes at “Project Runway.”

In a bombshell announcement, “Runway” producer the Weinstein Co. said Monday that Bravo’s signature series will move to women’s cable channel Lifetime in a five-year deal, starting with its sixth season in November.

Bravo’s parent company NBC Universal countered by filing a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Weinstein Monday aimed at preventing “Runway’s” jump to Lifetime.

“Runway” has broken ratings records for Bravo, where it has aired for four seasons. Casting on the fifth cycle is under way.

The suit, filed in New York Supreme Court, claims that NBC Universal and Weinstein had been negotiating for more than a year over exclusive rights to additional seasons of the show, including the sixth, and says that Weinstein “threatened to take future cycles of the program to a competing television network unless (NBC Universal) agreed to pay many millions of additional dollars to Weinstein to acquire a ‘package’ that included television rights to second-tier Weinstein films unrelated” to “Runway.”

Those films include “Miss Potter,” “The Great Debaters,” “Derailed,” “Bobby,” “Transamerica” and “The Nanny Diaries,” which Lifetime also acquired as part of its deal with Weinstein.

NBC Universal’s suit also claims that after Weinstein signed the deal with Lifetime on Feb. 7, the company continued to “engage in sham negotiations” with NBC Universal over those rights and “intentionally concealed” the fact that Weinstein had entered into an “invalid agreement” with Lifetime since NBC Universal has right of first refusal on the show.

The suit claims that Weinstein co-chairman Harvey Weinstein assured NBC Universal that it would have the opportunity to match any other network’s offer.

“NBC Universal has continuing legal rights related to ‘Project Runway,’ including a right of first refusal to future cycles of the series, which the Weinstein Co. unfortunately has refused to honor,” a spokesperson said. “NBC Universal regrettably had no alternative but to bring legal action to enforce its rights to this program, including the right to decide whether it is in the best interest of the company to continue to air the show under the proposed financial terms.”

For its part, Weinstein claims that “NBC has sued to try to disrupt the series moving to Lifetime” after “declining to compete for the right to have” the show.

“We believe that this lawsuit is without merit,” Weinstein counsel David Boies said. “While good for the market for lawyers, it is always unfortunate when parties try to win in court what they have lost in the marketplace.”

One source close to the show called the suit “sour grapes” on the part of NBC Universal, while other sources insisted that Bravo simply wasn’t willing to pony up the license fee to keep “Runway,” allowing Lifetime to step in and scoop it up.

Lifetime Networks president and CEO Andrea Wong declined to talk about the lawsuit, saying only that “we have a signed contract.”

Asked how the deal came about, Wong, who said she’s a fan of the show, said only that “Harvey and I were talking about the opportunity to work together. This came up, and I jumped at the opportunity to get it.”

In a statement, Bob and Harvey Weinstein thanked NBC Universal and Bravo for “all their contribution and support.”

“Today’s announcement is a celebration of all of our success and having Lifetime’s unique cable reach will ensure that the show will continue to grow and expand in the years to come,” the duo said.

Host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn also will move to Lifetime with the show. It’s unclear whether judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia also will come along, though Wong said she “plans to keep the show exactly the way it is.”

Wong also noted that Lifetime reaches 7 million more homes than Bravo and has double the total-day rating among women. She also pointed out “Runway’s” strong ratings among women.

“It’s clearly a leading show for women, whether cable or broadcast, and Lifetime is the No. 1 network for women,” she said.

NBC Universal wants a court order stopping Weinstein from granting rights to future cycles without first honoring the first-look deal and to declare they are entitled to those rights. It seeks damages but not a specific amount, only that “money damages would be inadequate to protect” its interests because it would not include compensation for future cycles and any spin-off.

Source: Reuters

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

NBC sues over ‘Project Runway’ move

LOS ANGELES – It’s gotten ugly behind the scenes at “Project Runway.”

In a bombshell announcement, “Runway” producer the Weinstein Co. said Monday that Bravo’s signature series will move to women’s cable channel Lifetime in a five-year deal, starting with its sixth season in November.

Bravo’s parent company NBC Universal countered by filing a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Weinstein Monday aimed at preventing “Runway’s” jump to Lifetime.

“Runway” has broken ratings records for Bravo, where it has aired for four seasons. Casting on the fifth cycle is under way.

The suit, filed in New York Supreme Court, claims that NBC Universal and Weinstein had been negotiating for more than a year over exclusive rights to additional seasons of the show, including the sixth, and says that Weinstein “threatened to take future cycles of the program to a competing television network unless (NBC Universal) agreed to pay many millions of additional dollars to Weinstein to acquire a ‘package’ that included television rights to second-tier Weinstein films unrelated” to “Runway.”

Those films include “Miss Potter,” “The Great Debaters,” “Derailed,” “Bobby,” “Transamerica” and “The Nanny Diaries,” which Lifetime also acquired as part of its deal with Weinstein.

NBC Universal’s suit also claims that after Weinstein signed the deal with Lifetime on Feb. 7, the company continued to “engage in sham negotiations” with NBC Universal over those rights and “intentionally concealed” the fact that Weinstein had entered into an “invalid agreement” with Lifetime since NBC Universal has right of first refusal on the show.

The suit claims that Weinstein co-chairman Harvey Weinstein assured NBC Universal that it would have the opportunity to match any other network’s offer.

“NBC Universal has continuing legal rights related to ‘Project Runway,’ including a right of first refusal to future cycles of the series, which the Weinstein Co. unfortunately has refused to honor,” a spokesperson said. “NBC Universal regrettably had no alternative but to bring legal action to enforce its rights to this program, including the right to decide whether it is in the best interest of the company to continue to air the show under the proposed financial terms.”

For its part, Weinstein claims that “NBC has sued to try to disrupt the series moving to Lifetime” after “declining to compete for the right to have” the show.

“We believe that this lawsuit is without merit,” Weinstein counsel David Boies said. “While good for the market for lawyers, it is always unfortunate when parties try to win in court what they have lost in the marketplace.”

One source close to the show called the suit “sour grapes” on the part of NBC Universal, while other sources insisted that Bravo simply wasn’t willing to pony up the license fee to keep “Runway,” allowing Lifetime to step in and scoop it up.

Lifetime Networks president and CEO Andrea Wong declined to talk about the lawsuit, saying only that “we have a signed contract.”

Asked how the deal came about, Wong, who said she’s a fan of the show, said only that “Harvey and I were talking about the opportunity to work together. This came up, and I jumped at the opportunity to get it.”

In a statement, Bob and Harvey Weinstein thanked NBC Universal and Bravo for “all their contribution and support.”

“Today’s announcement is a celebration of all of our success and having Lifetime’s unique cable reach will ensure that the show will continue to grow and expand in the years to come,” the duo said.

Host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn also will move to Lifetime with the show. It’s unclear whether judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia also will come along, though Wong said she “plans to keep the show exactly the way it is.”

Wong also noted that Lifetime reaches 7 million more homes than Bravo and has double the total-day rating among women. She also pointed out “Runway’s” strong ratings among women.

“It’s clearly a leading show for women, whether cable or broadcast, and Lifetime is the No. 1 network for women,” she said.

NBC Universal wants a court order stopping Weinstein from granting rights to future cycles without first honoring the first-look deal and to declare they are entitled to those rights. It seeks damages but not a specific amount, only that “money damages would be inadequate to protect” its interests because it would not include compensation for future cycles and any spin-off.

Source: Reuters

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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