8:42am PT by Eriq Gardner
Lawsuit Claims Proctor & Gamble Ruined CBS Awards Show Honoring 'Heroes'
There are quite a few awards shows on television these days, but none honoring those who serve in the military, law enforcement and in firefighting departments.
According to a new lawsuit, CBS was primed to broadcast a live two-hour primetime special to bestow awards for valor, but the event never came to pass. Why not? A group calling itself "Operation: Heroes" is blaming the award show's primary sponsor, Proctor & Gamble, for getting too bossy and attempting to turn the event into "a typical entertainment industry/advertiser-boasting awards show, i.e., glitzy, commercially scripted, unnecessarily expensive to the point of foreseeable embarrassment to the honored Heroes and their respective organizations."
The "Heroes" award show was to be broadcast annually, starting on Memorial Day weekend 2010. The initial show was going to be hosted by Wayne Newton with Medal of Valor presenters including Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Kevin Bacon and Gary Sinise, with entertainment provided by the winner of NBC's America's Got Talent and others.
To broadcast the event, CBS was to get $1.3 million, including a $300,000 advance payment.
In October 2009, P&G allegedly entered into an agreement to be the exclusive presenting sponsor for the event and promised $1.425 million. A small amount of money was to go to Operation: Heroes and the rest to CBS for a "time buy."
The organizer then says that P&G "took an active and frequently invasive role in the development" of the awards show.
According to the complaint, demands included expensive changes to the production budget and modifications to staff, production sets, the event site, and talent. The plaintiffs say that the company's demands "were outside the scope of [P&G's] rights under the agreement and sponsorship role."
The two sides kept arguing until ultimately, P&G allegedly pulled out by not paying $1 million to CBS. Afterwards, CBS terminated its agreement with Operation: Heroes, telling the group "that its reputation had been tarnished such that CBS would not consider broadcasting OH's event at any future date, even if the entire time-buy fee was paid in advance."
Operation: Heroes is now suing P&G for breach of contract, interference with contract and negligence. The plaintiffs haven't targeted any specific damages amount.
"At this time, we have not been served with any formal complaints regarding this matter," said a P&G spokesperson. "If, in the future, we are served with a complaint, we will vigorously defend ourselves against any allegations."