January 07, 2013 12:12pm PT by Eriq Gardner
A&E Settles Lawsuit Over Bristol Palin Reality TV Series
Kyle Massey, an actor most famous for starring on the Disney Channel's That's So Raven, has settled a lawsuit that alleged the idea for a reality show starring Bristol Palin taking care of her son Tripp was stolen from his family.
Massey's attorney informed the court last month of the pending settlement. On Friday, a California federal judge signed off on it, dismissing the case.
The lawsuit was brought by Massey, his mother and brothers, in June against Associated Television International and others responsible for the Lifetime series, Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp.
The Masseys alleged to have become friendly with Bristol Palin through mutual participation on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.
According to the original complaint, in 2010, the Masseys created a written half-hour TV series featuring the two families, entitled Bristol-ogy 101. The treatment had the families living together near Palin's home in Alaska, attending college while raising Tripp, who became famous when Sarah Palin was tabbed as John McCain's running mate during the 2008 presidential election.
Bristol was alleged to have expressed her enthusiasm for the concept and agreed to work with the Masseys on the project.
Then, everyone became involved in a TV project that was tentatively entitled Helping Hands, a documentary TV series showing the two families working with various charities. Angel Massey, mother of Kyle, who allegedly came up with many of the creative ideas behind Bristol-ogy 101, including having the Masseys and Palins working together, says she was promised a producers role and creative input. Various deals were signed for the participants. The show was purchased by A&E BIO channel and production began somewhere around July, 2011.
By February, 2012, A&E was working with producers on another series entitled Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp.
The Masseys say it was substantially similar to their original concept and a derivative version of Helping Hands but without their participation. They sued for copyright infringement, fraud, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, misappropriation of name and likeness, tortious interference and unfair competition.
After the lawsuit was filed, it was amended, adding A&E Television Networks (owner of Lifetime) as a defendant.
A&E sought to compel arbitration.
Before a judge decided whether the contracts between the parties meant arbitration, the parties came to resolution. Details of the settlement have not been made public.
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