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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Producer Sues Studio Over Sheen’s New Show

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A producer who claims he helped develop the new Charlie Sheen TV series "Anger Management" sued Joe Roth's Revolution Studios for $50 million, claiming it refused to credit him or pay him for his work on the show. Sheen is not a party to the case.

Jason Shuman and his company Blue Star Entertainment sued Joe Roth, Revolution Studios, and Revolution Studios Development Co., in Superior Court.

Shuman claims that Roth hired him and his company to develop an "Anger Management" series based on the 2003 movie starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson.

Shuman, whose producer credits include "Role Models" and "Bangkok Dangerous," claims he spent two years pitching and developing "Anger Management," expecting an interest in the show, fees and producer credit.

"In 2008, plaintiffs entered into a consulting agreement with Revolution Studios for plaintiffs to analyze Revolution Studio's existing motion picture properties, including undeveloped screenplays, and develop these properties into television series, motion picture sequels and other formats," the complaint states. "From October 2008 through April 2009, plaintiffs successfully generated and helped develop Revolution's motion picture 'Are We There Yet' into a successful syndicated television series. During the show's development, plaintiffs requested that Roth and Revolution arrange for their compensation as required under the 2008 consulting agreement. Roth and Revolution Studios refused to enter into a reasonable market value contract with plaintiffs for their role in developing 'Are We There Yet.' Roth admitted to the plaintiffs that Revolution Studios' offer was poor compared to the deals other producers received on the show, but asked plaintiffs to accept the deal on the condition that he would 'make it up to' them by giving them significant back-end ownership in, and producer credit on, the next motion picture property that plaintiffs helped develop into a television series. Based on Roth's representations, plaintiffs entered into the unfavorable deal with Revolution Studios on 'Are We There Yet.'"

Before starting Revolution in 2000, Roth was head of Morgan Creek Productions, then chairman of 20th Century Fox, Caravan Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios.

Shuman says he entered into a producer's agreement with Revolution in May 2010, and was the "driving force" behind "Anger Management." He claims it was his idea to pitch the show to Hollywood using a "Tyler Perry" syndication model.

Under that model, 10 episodes of a new series are funded with a pre-negotiated ratings goal. If a new series reaches that number, a network will commit to an additional 90 episodes, making it ripe for syndication, according to the lawsuit.

Shuman says he met with Roth and Revolution executives weekly to discuss the project and developed it for more than two years.

"Then, in June 2011, without warning or justification, Roth went silent and refused to answer any of Shuman's emails or take any of his telephone calls," the complaint states. "In July 2011, plaintiffs discovered through the press that Revolution was in negotiation with actor Charlie Sheen to develop and produce 'Anger Management' into a television series under the 'Tyler Perry Model.'"

A Revolution attorney allegedly told Shuman's representative then that the company was no longer honoring the deal. When Shuman put this to Roth, he says he was met with an "all-too-familiar" line: "I will make things right."

"Roth later confirmed this in a Dec. 1, 2011 email to Shuman," the complaint states. "This statement was a complete and utter lie. Revolution refuses to honor the written producer agreement with plaintiffs. As a result of defendants' fraudulent actions and breach of the written producer agreement to develop 'Anger Management,' plaintiffs have received no credit or compensation and have been damaged in an amount in excess of $50 million."

Cable channel FX acquired "Anger Management," which will premiere later this year.

Shuman is represented by Bryan Freedman with Freedman & Taitelman.

They seek $50 million, for fraud and breach of contract.

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