5:05pm PT by Matthew Belloni
'Bachelor' Producers Settle Lawsuit with Spoiler Website 'Reality Steve'
Producers of The Bachelor have settled a lawsuit against the operator of a website that allegedly solicited and published spoiler information from cast and crew of the long-running ABC reality series.
In December, Warner Bros.-owned NZK Productions and Alternative Television filed suit against Stephen Carbone, who runs a website called realitysteve.com that regularly publishes news and spoilers on shows including The Bachelor, Jersey Shore and Survivor. Carbone was accused of soliciting information from Bachelor participants, cast, crew and other employees of the series and inducing them to breach contracts promising not to divulge nonpublic information. The case raised some interesting issues about the legality of publishing newsworthy information about a secret reality competition. But the parties have reached a settlement, and the case will be dropped.
"We have resolved our dispute with Reality Steve and are pleased he has agreed to have no further contact whatsoever with any of the cast, crew or employees of The Bachelor," Warner Bros. tells THR in a statement.
Carbone acknowledged the settlement on Twitter on Monday:
“A great start to the week. The lawsuit is over. We have finally settled. I will explain more this week…Long story short: RealitySteve.com isn't going anywhere, I don't owe the other side a penny, and they had no case.”
Carbone has posted several "spoilers" of the current season of The Bachelorette, but unlike some previous seasons, he has not named who he believes is the winner of the competition.
In the lawsuit, Carbone was alleged to have offered at least one Bachelor participant a monetary incentive to induce her to breach her contract. He allegedly wrote, "Since you are a student, and I know you have loans up the ying-yang, I'd be willing to compensate you. ... I swear, this is the easiest money you'd ever make, and you and I are the only two people that would know."
A day later, Carbone followed up with another purported e-mail that said, "$2500 to help me out. Not joking. Some of this stuff is driving me nuts ha ha."
The producers allegedly sent Carbone cease-and-desist letters Aug. 12 and again Nov. 22, then the lawsuit was filed in December.