NBC-Uni files suit over Wolf's fees


"Law & Order" chief Dick Wolf has his own real-life legal woes.

On Friday, NBC-Universal Network Programming and Universal Network Television filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the "L&O" creator and executive producer asking the court to interpret a contract between the two over the amount of executive producer fees Wolf is entitled to receive for the all three series, which include "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

At issue is an agreement signed in September 2004 by the two sides that included provisions for Wolf's executive producer fees, imputed license fees and other fees and compensation for the "Law & Order" series.

NBC Universal claims the agreement is a "pay-or-play" contract calling for Wolf to be paid executive producer fees in 48-episode blocks upon each order from NBC, regardless of how many episodes are actually ordered.

According to the complaint, Wolf has contended the 48-episode guarantee provides a "kill fee" in which he can be paid for two seasons of episodes of any "Law & Order" series, including ones that are not produced when NBC decides to not order more seasons. NBC Universal claim that Wolf's position would provide him "with an unintended windfall of millions of dollars."

NBC Universal's lawsuit has not changed Wolf's position on the issue.

"NBC Universal is trying to rewrite an existing contract," he said through a representative. "Apparently, our partner is willing to commission rewrites during the strike."

The litigation stems from Wolf's actions last March, when he told NBC Universal he had a "new interpretation" of the agreement, according to the lawsuit.

NBC Universal is asking the court to determine that its interpretation of the agreement is correct. If the court does not do so, then NBC Universal is asking the court to reform the "mistakenly written Wolf agreement."

NBC Universal, repped by outside counsel Scott Edelman, Michael Dore and Lynn Hang of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, seeks no monetary award other than costs of the suit.