Northern & Shell Settles $1.6 Million Shine Debt

Outstanding bills relating to music talent show "Don't Stop Believing"


LONDON -- Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Group has secured payment from Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell for bills relating to music talent show Don't Stop Believing.

The Shine-produced talent show was commissioned prior to Northern & Shell acquiring Channel 5, the British network behind The Gadget Show, CSI and The Mentalist.

Shine publicly accused Northern & Shell of having a track record of heavy-handedness and "taking an overtly aggressive stance towards its suppliers" last week. Northern & Shell reacted with surprise to the legal spat, saying the company was dismayed by the public accusation that it was trying to put small independent production companies out of business.

Now all is peace with Shine saying Wednesday Northern & Shell had paid the outstanding debt, reported to be a "near-million pound" sum.

A Shine spokesperson said: "Shine Group can confirm that payment of all remaining installments for Don't Stop Believing have now been received. This follows Shine readily facilitating further reviews of the program's accounts for [Channel] five after which it was confirmed that no outstanding questions remain. As such planned legal action to recoup these payments does not need to be pursued."

Northern & Shell said last week it had already made contractual payments of over £5 million ($7.9 million) relating to the music talent show fronted by former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, and that only details of a final invoice of less than a million pounds was being queried.

Launched by Murdoch in 2001, Shine is one of the U.K.'s biggest independent producers and has a global network of independent production assets including Ben Silverman's former outfit Reveille, and Spookscreator Kudos.

"Shine is fortunate to be one of the U.K.'s most successful creative companies and able to stand up to Channel 5's new owners throwing their weight around," the producer said.

"However, for smaller companies, who are the backbone of our creative economy, this behavior threatens their very survival. The Shine Group is therefore offering support to independent Channel 5 program makers who are threatened with insolvency by Northern & Shell's refusal to pay overdue bills."

The £650,000 ($1 million) an episode music show flailed in the ratings after a promising start, a performance Shine attributed to it being moved around in the schedule.