LOS ANGELES (CN) – Two companies controlled by producer Mark Burnett lied about the costs of MTV’s reality show “Bully Beatdown” to avoid paying a Dallas-based TV producer its fair share, the producer claims in Superior Court.
Big Headz Entertainment claims JMBP Inc. and One Three Television, the assignee of JMBPs’ rights in Burnett’s “Bully Beatdown” reality show, pretended that the mixed-martial arts series was operating at a loss to avoid paying Big Headz.
MTV and Burnett, who has also produced “Survivor” and “Apprentice,” are not parties to the lawsuit.
Big Headz developed the series in 2007 with ProElite Inc., which went out of business roughly two years later, according to the five-page complaint.
Big Headz then entered into a new contract with JMBP to keep producing “Bully Beatdown,” incorporating a 2007 agreement for 12.5 percent of modified adjusted gross proceeds.
Big Headz says JMBP released three financial statements in 2011 showing that the series’ revenues had increased from $3.2 million to almost $5 million.
“Despite an approximately $1.8 million increase in revenues from 2009 to 2010, [JMBP] paid no compensation to Big Headz,” the lawsuit states. “Rather, [JMBP] told Big Headz that expenses related to the series increased from approximately $2.5 million to nearly $4 million, a 54 percent increase that was nearly identical to the increase in revenues.
“The alleged increase in expenses caused the series not to realize any [modified adjusted gross proceeds] as defined in the 2007 and 2009 agreements,” Big Headz claims.
JMBP claimed the series operated at a loss, according to Big Headz.
But those financial statements were “incomplete, inaccurate, and misleading,” because production costs did not go up, and the series was not losing money, Big Headz says.
By overstating expenses, JMPB depressed the value of the adjusted profit-based compensation due Big Headz under the 2009 agreement, according to the lawsuit.
Big Headz seeks an order forcing JMBP to open its books so that Big Headz can confirm how much it is owed. It also wants JMPB to pay up.
In “Bully Beatdown,” mixed-martial arts fighters take on bullies while the kids who were picked on watch from the audience. The show ran for three seasons in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Big Headz is represented by Michael Wallenstein of McKenna Long & Aldridge.
One Three Television could not immediately be reached for comment.
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