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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Heroes’ Show Blames Sponsor for Failure

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A network TV awards show honoring America's military, police and firemen crashed when Procter & Gamble yanked its promised $1 million backing, Operation: Heroes claims in Federal Court.

Operation: Heroes sued Procter and Gamble Productions, Procter & Gamble Co. and Telenext Media.

Heroes says it hoped to produce an annual awards show every Memorial Day weekend to honor members of America's military, law enforcement and firefighters. The inaugural, 2-hour, prime-time show was to be broadcast on CBS on May 30, 2010, hosted by Wayne Newton, with presenters including Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Kevin Bacon and Gary Sinise, among others, according to the complaint.

Heroes claims that Procter & Gamble agreed to be the event's exclusive presenting sponsor, for a fee of $1.425 million, of which $125,000 was to be paid to Operation: Heroes. The rest was to be paid to CBS to broadcast the event.

Soon after making the deal, however, the defendants took an "active and frequently invasive role" in developing the show, demanded that the show be run a certain way, that it make large and expensive changes to the production budget, change its staffing, sets, site and talent, the complaint states.

"Defendants also insisted upon changing the character of the broadcast into a typical entertainment industry/advertiser-boasting awards show, i.e. glitzy, commercially scripted, unnecessarily expensive to the point of foreseeable embarrassment to the honored heroes and their respective organizations and the Department of Defense approved event ... i.e., the primary focus being the heroes and their heroic stories presented as a respectful and humble tribute to America's military and first responders."

When Operation: Heroes refused to accept these "unreasonable demands," the defendants "contacted other event sponsors as well as the event hose/emcee, Wayne Newton, and slandered OH, its staff and its event," the complaint states.

Heroes claims that defendants also threatened that Heroes had breached contract by not letting the defendants control the production, delayed press conference dates, and prohibited Heroes from distributing news releases.

In March 2010, 2 months before the event was to be televised, the defendants refused to provide the $1 million letter of credit to CBS, according to the complaint.

CBs then terminated the agreement, and told Heroes it would not run the event because "its reputation had been tarnished," according to the complaint.

Plaintiff seeks damages for breach of contract, beach of faith, interference with prospective economic advantage and negligence.

It is represented by E. Brent Bryson, with Bowles & Verna.

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