Lurie takes T'stone to court over 'Chief'

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Rod Lurie has sued Touchstone TV, claiming it owes him at least $1 million for his series "Commander-in-Chief."

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the producer-director-writer claims Touchstone used the WGA strike to stop paying him under his contract for the failed 2005 series about the first female U.S. president.

Lurie, who sued under his Chariot Prods. shingle, was ousted early in the series' run, replaced as showrunner by Steven Bochco, who in turn was replaced by the show's executive producer Dee Johnson for its final episodes.

According to the lawsuit, after his firing, Lurie's contract was amended to include a two-year extension agreement, where he retained executive producer credit on "Commander" and was paid $3 million (in weekly installments) and an overhead allowance of $100,000 per year until June 2008.

The agreement provided for Lurie to remain exclusive to Touchstone and develop, write and supervise other projects.

"Touchstone had no intention of moving forward with any of these projects or seeking any further services from Chariot or Lurie," the lawsuit states.

Touchstone has not been served with the court papers and declined comment on the suit. (partialdiff)
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