Thursday, September 21, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, September 21, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fox News Sued for Killing Reality-Show Deal

(CN) - Fox News pulled the plug on what was to be its first-ever reality show, the producer of the History Channel's "Pawn Stars" claims in court, seeking $4.5 million.

Leftfield Pictures of New York LLC filed the complaint Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court against Fox News Network LLC.

A year ago nearly to the day, Leftfield and Fox entered a production-services agreement for a "show was to be Fox News' first reality television show, and was to be broadcast on Fox Business Network," the complaint states.

Just three months after signing, however, Fox allegedly told Leftfield it "wanted to halt production of the show."

Leftfield says it "was in the middle of producing the remaining 19 episodes according to the terms of the contract, when Fox News suddenly purported to terminate production."

Fox allegedly sent Leftfield a letter on Nov. 21, 2014, "announcing improperly that Fox News 'decided that we cannot go forward with Leftfield.'"

Thereafter, Fox never made the remaining payments due under the contract, according to the complaint.

Leftfield says "Fox News had no contractual basis for refusing to pay the rest of its financial commitment due under the agreement for [redacted]," according to the complaint (brackets in original). "Fox News' repudiation of the contract is without basis in law or fact."

There are several other redactions in the eight-page complaint, mostly regarding the terms of the July 11, 2014, agreement.

Leftfield says it has lost profits and seeks $4.5 million in damages for breach of contract.

As the name behind programs on including MTV and the Discovery Channel, Leftfield claims to have "pioneered 'item-based' reality television programming with its program 'Pawn Stars,' first airing on the History Channel in 2009."

The series, which still airs original and repeat episodes, documents artifact discussions and haggling at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a 24-hour family business opened in Las Vegas in 1988.

"Pawn Stars" is one of History Channel's "most successful shows worldwide," Leftfield says.

A British version of the show "was History UK Channel's highest-ever-rated original premiere," the complaint states, noting that there are also spinoffs in Australia and South Africa.

Leftfield's other "item-based" programs include History Channel's "Counting Cars" and "American Restoration."

The company is represented by John Crossman with Zuckerman, Gore, Brandeis & Crossman.

Fox News was not immediately available for comment.

Its parent company, Twenty-First Century Fox, reported $6.84 billion in profits for the fiscal quarter that ended March 2015. It netted in $31.87 billion in the year ended June 2014.

Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.