LOS ANGELES (CN) – Arsenio Hall broke a promise to hire a writer to head his eponymous late-night talk show because he blamed the writer for his “own failures,” the writer claims in a $2 million lawsuit.
Paul Raff sued CBS executive producer John Ferriter, Arsenio Hall, CBS Studios and production company Octagon in Superior Court, alleging fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment.
Raff, a writer on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for more than five years, claims that in the summer of 2012, Ferriter asked him to write for a proposed reboot of “The Arsenio Hall Show.”
After Raff accepted, Ferriter offered to represent him, develop his career and promised him the coveted head writer position on the show, the writer claims.
Before pre-production began, Raff says, he took a freelance gig to write five clips for Hall’s website, to raise the comedian’s social media profile. Raff claims that Hall refused to shoot the clips because he was “lazy and afraid of failure.”
He claims that Hall and Ferriter then backed away from offering him the head writer’s position.
He claims they assured him that his position as writer on the show was safe, but in June 2013 writer Chris McGuire was hired as head writer.
Raff claims he then had to interview with McGuire to get on staff, but an offer never materialized.
After pre-production began a month later, Raff claims, Ferriter told “third parties” that Raff’s writing for Hall’s web clips was poor, and that he had not been hired as head writer because he failed to “bond” with Hall.
“Statements that Raff’s digital work was poor and attributions of fault on the part of Raff for the alleged failure to bond between Hall and Raff were entirely false. At all times relevant hereto, Raff’s work was of the highest quality. Moreover, Raff always bent over backwards to succeed with Hall. Any failure to bond was no fault of Raff,” the 14-page complaint states.
Raff claims that Hall “obviously intended to scapegoat Raff for his own failures.”
He claims that Ferriter shut him down in an Aug. 6 email: “‘If we can figure out the right position you will get an offer. If we can’t, you won’t, … So please no more emails and I will try to get around the hurdle and get you an offer.'”
Raff says that was the last he heard from either Ferriter or Hall.
He says he has not worked since June of last year. If Ferriter and Hall had come clean with him sooner he could have sought employment on another show, he says in the complaint.
Raff seeks $2 million in damages, and costs. He is represented by Lisa Maki.
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