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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

‘Survivor’ Consultant Demands $14 Million

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A business consultant claims in court that his partner owes him millions of dollars from the game show "Survivor" and other projects by reality TV producer (nonparty) Mark Burnett.

Layne Leslie Britton sued Conrad Riggs, a former adviser to Burnett, and Riggs' company, Cloudbreak Entertainment, in Superior Court.

Britton claims Riggs breached an October 2000 agreement by refusing to account for earnings, and that Riggs secretly settled a dispute over a 10 percent stake in Burnett's shows without consulting him.

Burnett is not a party to the lawsuit.

Riggs came to Britton for help after Riggs, then Burnett's adviser, "found himself in a pitched battle" with CBS over how much "Survivor" was worth, Britton says in the complaint.

Britton claims that Riggs asked him to take an equal stake in his advisory business in return for a share of 10 percent of "Survivor" revenue.

"Britton agreed that in exchange for his continued advice and consultation on business matters to Riggs and Burnett through December 31, 2001, Britton would receive 35 percent of what Riggs received pursuant to his contract with Burnett for all future cycles of 'Survivor' and 40 percent of all other monies received from Burnett or his companies pursuant to Riggs' contract with Burnett. Riggs and Britton memorialized their agreement in a signed writing dated October 23, 2000," the complaint states.

Riggs and Cloudbreak have received more than $35 million from Burnett, Britton says. He claims that Riggs lied to him for years to avoid paying him his fair share.

"In July 2008, Riggs filed a civil complaint against Burnett, who like Britton considered Riggs to be a close friend as well as a business associate," the complaint states.

Britton says Riggs sued Burnett for breach of the agreement to pay 10 percent of revenue from "Survivor" and other projects.

Burnett countersued, claiming Riggs had schemed to secure a larger share of the producer's earnings through contract negotiations, and represented him without a talent agent license.

Burnett and Riggs reached a settlement this year without Britton's consent, according to his complaint.

"As a result of Riggs's litigation against Burnett, Britton discovered in summer 2011 that a review of the filings Conrad [Riggs] made in his complaint against Mark [Burnett], evidenced that Riggs spent part of his tenure with the enterprise [Burnett's company] scheming to appropriate an even larger share of Burnett's earning to himself by not paying Britton his fair and agreed upon share of the earnings that Burnett paid to Riggs - earnings that Riggs would not have made had it not been for the business advice and consultation services provided by Britton," the lawsuit states.

In "Survivor," contestants are marooned in the wilderness and compete in "tribes" for cash and prizes. The show was created by British television producer Charlie Parson; Burnett is its executive producer in the United States.

Britton seeks $14 million for breach of written contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

He is represented by John Shaeffer of Lathrop & Gage.

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