Food Network Countersues Former 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' Producer

The Food Network has filed a $1.5 million countersuit against the former producer of its hit show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, alleging that David Page created such an "intolerable" work environment for the show's staff, the network was forced to replace him.

In May, Page Television and Video Prodssued the network claiming that it had breached a contract by, among other things, failing to allow the show's star, Guy Fieri, to participate in the show.

The dispute led to rumors of the show's demise, speculation that the Food Network quickly dismissed with a statement that both the show and its star host would be returning.

Now, TFN has answered the lawsuit and shed more light on behind-the-scenes intrigue starting at season 12 of the show.

According to court papers filed by TFN on Thursday, Page allegedly breached a production contract by failing to deliver footage on time, promoting the show on its website in violation of the contract, and mistreating staff and others working on the series.

TFN says that Page would send e-mails to staff members calling them, "a vile uninformed piece of sh--," "you are one f**cked up dumba** loser,” "“I hope you die so I can dance on your f**ing grave," and "lets assume im a genius from now on. . . lets all assume i know what the f*** im doing. . . this is no longer a democracy.”

The network says that by September, 2010, Page's treatment toward staff became so intolerable that it had to ask for changes in work environment. The requests were allowed by the contract, says TFN.

Page allegedly refused.

The counterclaims continue by alleging that Page has only turned over incomplete work for seasons 12 and 13 of the show and is still withholding other materials, including raw footage, animations, graphics and music.

The network claims to own the copyright over the show, saying Page is employed per the contract in a "work-for-hire" capacity.

Page and his reps couldn't immediately respond to comment.


Twitter: @eriqgardner