Distinctive: The Lincoln Attorney is heading to court, literally.
In what could come to be a pretty revealing and grueling affair for all concerned, A+E Studios subsidiary Frankl & Bob Movies II, LLC has sued ViacomCBS for hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses in excess of the latter’s spring 2020 choice not to go forward with a series based mostly on Michael Connelly’s novels.
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“ViacomCBS realized that CBS Community had a binding agreement with AES and that any breach of the deal would cause AES sizeable hurt,” reads the grievance for tortious interference, submitted late Thursday in Los Angeles Exceptional Courtroom. “ViacomCBS also realized that it terrible no justification or excuse for instructing CBS Network to breach the arrangement,” the 10-webpage submitting adds of the sudden stop of the higher-profile authorized drama from The Exercise creator David E. Kelley.
“ViacomCBS so willfully and consciously disregarded AES’s contractual rights in directing CBS Community to injure AES by breaching the License Arrangement,” the document from the firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson states. “It then invented a patently wrong justification for the breach, venturing that AES would not be prepared to guard by itself from these an egregious violation of its rights. ViacomCBS acted intentionally. fraudulently, and with oppression and malice, with out any privilege or justification, and in willful and aware disregard of AES’s legal rights in instructing CBS Network to breach the license Agreement.”
The grievance seeks wide-ranging and unspecified compensatory damages, as properly as exemplary and punitive damages, expenses and the normal “any other reduction the Courtroom deems just and correct.” It would seem set on pulling CBS Enjoyment manager George Cheeks personally into the subject, as nicely as exposing how the sausage is created when it arrives to network collection pickups.
Preemptively ordered by CBS in 2019, The Lincoln Law firm was plainly the victim in one particular way or yet another of the Shari Redstone-orchestrated reunion of the media company with its onetime mother or father, Viacom. The merger of the two entities managed by Redstone’s Nationwide Amusements formally closed in December 2019, developing the new entity ViacomCBS.
Continue to, in the months after that only a little bit messy merger, programs for The Lincoln Attorney the CBS series continued well into the pre-production phases — even as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down Hollywood on both equally the massive and compact display.
“Everything changed on Could 1,” the grievance suggests, referring to 2020.
“That early morning, two CBS Network executives named AES with a bombshell revelation: CBS Network was abandoning the Series,” the submitting statements. “When AES asked them to demonstrate this gorgeous reversal, they could not. The greatest-ranking govt at CBS Community could say only that the conclusion had been created ‘above my head.’”
Maybe it was above that exec’s head — but it was not unknowable, the A+E Studios go well with postulates.
“Only later did AES uncover the serious reason for the cancellation,” go through the submitting, which highlighted a lot more website page-turning suspense than most lawsuits. It should be noted at this point that Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva broke the distinctive on Might 2 that Lincoln Attorney was useless at CBS. (In fact, our Editor-in-Main, Television set can make a footnote cameo in today’s suit with a June 2019 story of hers on the sequence manufacturing commitment — but probably I digress a little bit.)
“After the merger, ViacomCBS’s new management, led by Mr. Cheeks, had second-guessed CBS Network’s conclusion to enter into the 13-episode series determination,” today’s filing alleges. It puts the induce on Cheeks and his colleagues for selecting that a manufacturer like Lincoln Lawyer and doing the job with a established hitmaker like Kelley “was not worthwhile to ViacomCBS as a whole,” and a holdover from the prior routine. “Mr. Cheeks and his fellow ViacomCBS executives had as a result made the decision that it would be improved for ViacomCBS as a complete if CBS Community breached that motivation.”
As a outcome, the filing proceeds, “ViacomCBS — an entity that did not even exist until immediately after CBS Network manufactured the collection motivation — instructed CBS Community to breach its contract with AES.” The merged business resolved to lay blame on AES and “to fake that because AES had not delivered the first episode of the Collection in advance of the upfronts, CBS Community could not go forward with its series determination.” Given that timeline, “That breach ensured that the Sequence would under no circumstances make it onto broadcast tv.”
Perhaps, but The Lincoln Lawyer and Kelley produced it to a really vast-reaching streamer.
Immediately after getting the ax from ViacomCBS previous 12 months, A+E Studios shopped the job, which in the end landed at Netflix. The streamer gave a series order to a new incarnation of the drama in January 2021 starring Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the titular character, as the collection honored the story’s Latinx origins.
The 10-episode 1st season is based mostly on the second guide in The Lincoln Lawyer collection, The Brass Verdict.
Prepared and executive made by Kelley and showrunner Ted Humphrey, The Lincoln Attorney revolves all over Mickey Haller (Garcia-Rulfo). An iconoclastic idealist, he operates his law practice out of the back again seat of his Lincoln City Automobile, getting on scenarios significant and small throughout the expansive town of Los Angeles.
Kelley and Humphrey executive make alongside Connelly and Ross Fineman.
At this late hour, ViacomCBS understandably did not answer to request for remark from Deadline on the suit. If and when they do, we will update.
Deadline’s Denise Petski contributed to this report.
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