Sports Stars Sued After Ditching Reality Show

     LOS ANGELES (CN) — An LA-based production company claims that two luminaries of the physical fitness world — professional surfer Laird Hamilton and professional volleyball player Gabriel Reece — are frauds.
     “In the athletic world, professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece and surfer Laird Hamilton have portrayed themselves as champions and role models,” production company 7Iron Media says a complaint filed in state court. “Sadly, in the real world, Ms. Reece and Mr. Hamilton will lie, cheat, and commit outright fraud in order to avoid their professional commitments.”
     7Iron Media accuses the married couple of backing out of an agreement to participate in a reality television show, agreeing instead to create a similarly themed show with a competing company.
     “When they signed this contract, (Reece and Hamilton) promised they would not develop or produce any competing reality television programs,” 7Iron says in the complaint. “Incredibly, no sooner had this contract been signed than Ms. Reece finalized a separate deal with Sony Pictures Television to develop and star in a reality television program on NBC entitled ‘Strong.’ “
     “Strong” debuted April 13 on NBC and features Reece as the host. The show is contest featuring 10 different personalities helping contestants to lose weight and get fit.
     Neither NBC nor the producers of “Strong” are parties to 7Iron’s complaint.
     7Iron says “Strong” is “substantially similar” to the one contemplated by it signed contract with Reece and Hamilton.
     Reece is one of the most prolific female volleyball players of all time, leading her college team in kills all four years. She was elected to the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 1993.
     She played professional volleyball, acting as the lynchpin on a four-person volleyball team that won a championship in the early 1990s. Simultaneously, she transitioned to a successful modeling career and became a television personality.
     Hamilton is an elite athlete in his own right, widely considered to be one of the greatest big-wave surfers of all time. He eschewed the professional contest circuit, instead opting to drop in on some of the largest waves, regularly surfing swells of 35 feet and sometimes tackling waves twice that size.
     7Iron Media claims Reece and Hamilton broke a contract and used unfair business practices. The company seeks an injunction preventing the couple from profiting from “Strong,” and damages and restitution.
     The plaintiff is represented by Bryan Freedman of Los Angeles.
     Neither Reece’s representatives nor 7Iron Media returned email requests for comment by press time.

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