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‘Tis the season for lawsuits.
A day after Warner Bros. Television filed a $49 million complaint against CBS over hit comedy “Two and a Half Men,” the studio itself became the target of suit by “Gilmore Girls” executive producer Gavin Polone over the quirky WB dramedy.
The breach-of-contract lawsuit, which names WBTV; the WB, which aired “Gilmore Girls” from 2000-06; and the CW, which ran the series’ final seventh season, was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by Hofflund/Polone, Polone’s company with Judy Hofflund.
The complaint accuses vertically integrated Time Warner companies WBTV and the WB of “self-dealing at all levels” and claims that they “have colluded to defraud the originator of hit ‘Gilmore Girls’ television series with a scheme that rivals the greed and bravado of any story line defendants could script.”
The suit refers to a 2000 agreement between Hofflund/Polone and WBTV and its 2002 amendment that guaranteed the producing company a percentage of the “modified adjusted gross,” the money the show earns after costs are deducted.
While Hofflund/Polone agrees that early in its run “Gilmore Girls” was in the red, the company disputes WBTV’s 2006 statement that through the first six seasons the series’ modified adjusted gross was still a $53 million deficit.
A third-party audit commissioned by Hofflund/Polone in October 2006 alleges that the balance, as calculated by WBTV, was understated by $45.5 million through “collusion among defendants to set below-market license fees” and a series of improper charges.
The majority of the audit’s findings were disputed by WBTV at a meeting in June.
The lawsuit asks for “tens of millions of dollars” in damages.
WBTV had no comment.
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