EXCLUSIVE: Actress-singer Tamera Mowry has signed with CAA in all areas. Mowry, who was previously at UTA, is one of the hosts on Warner Bros’ syndicated daytime talker The Real, which is heading for a fall launch …
2ND UPDATE 7:40 PM: The most colorful reaction to today’s lawsuit once again came from Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, who previously blasted AMC over the dismissal of Glen Mazzara, Frank Darabont‘s successor on The Walking Dead. Sutter wrote on Twitter, “go frank. fuck those ghoulish, dead-eyed scumbags in their green-gobbed asses. i ain’t talking about the zombies.”
PREVIOUS 11:25 AM: AMC‘s The Walking Dead is the biggest show on television but its developer Frank Darabont has yet to receive any money as a profit participant. Today, Darabont and his agency CAA filed a lawsuit (read it here) against AMC, accusing the network in “self dealing” by setting an unrealistically low license fee for the zombie series it also produces and employing questionable accounting practices thus depriving profit participants of compensation. The complaint also alleges Darabont was wrongfully terminated from the show, that he should continue to receive an executive producer credit and is entitled to proceeds from The Walking Dead offshoots Talking Dead and the upcoming spinoff from Robert Kirkman, on whose graphic novel The Walking Dead was based. UPDATE: AMC declined comment on the litigation. Darabont and CAA are asking for unspecified “monetary damages” to be determined by a jury trial.
Judging by the history of vertical integration lawsuits, the odds are small that the dispute would go to trial. There have been a slew of “self dealing” complaints since the 1995 relaxation of TV’s financial interest-syndication rules — all of them eventually settled. The list includes Home Improvement producers’ suit against Disney, NYPD Blue exec producer Steven Bochco’s, X-Files star David Duchovny’s and M*A*S*H star Alan Alda’s complaints against 20th Century Fox TV, and more recently Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan’s case against NBC and Smallville creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough’s against Warner Bros TV. They all accused a studio of not negotiating a fair (or “arms’ length”) deal when selling a series to a corporate sibling, or “self-dealing,” which had hurt profit participants’ financial returns. The difference is that Darabont was also fired from the show early into its run, a move Darabont and CAA are using in their case against AMC. The lawsuit, filed today with the New York Supreme Court, comes after sources say efforts by Darabont and CAA to resolve their issues were “fundamentally rebuffed” by AMC. The 73-page complaint was accompanied by a summons from the plaintiffs for AMC to reply by mid-January or risk default judgment.
EXCLUSIVE: Radical Studios has signed with CAA as the company builds itself in film, TV, publishing and interactive. The venture, founded by Barry Levine and Jesse Berger, has created print intellectual properties that already have translated to other platforms. It has more than 40 titles and 1000 characters, and came out of the gate with the Tom Cruise-starrer Oblivion – which began as a Radical Publishing graphic novel from an idea by Joseph Kosinski, who directed the film. Radical has wrapped its second intellectual property transfer, the Brett Ratner-directed Hercules with Dwayne Johnson for MGM/Paramount, which the latter releases next July. That was based on the Radical Publishing comic book series Hercules: The Thracian Wars. Radical recently set a multimillion-dollar China-based joint venture with Le Vision Pictures which enables the company to access stories, talent and distribution through the partnership. First project in that venture is Mandate Of Heaven, which was formerly developed under the title Clans Of The Sacred Stone.
Kim Mordaunt has signed with the Gersh Agency in the U.S. He wrote and directed The Rocket, the Laos-set drama that is Australia’s submission for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar. The film — Mordaunt’s debut narrative feature, which has been banned in Laos — has garnered numerous prizes, including the World Cinema Audience Award at AFI Fest last week and three awards each at Tribeca and Berlin. The Aussie started his career as an actor before moving to longform documentaries including include CopyRites, Survival, Speed City and the 2007 feature docu Bomb Harvest.
EXCLUSIVE: CAA makes it a habit to rotate its rising agents into department head roles, and they’ve just appointed vet Joe Machota to take the reins of the Theatre Department. Heads rotate more regularly in areas like film and television, but the top job has belonged to George Lane since he moved over from WMA a decade ago to form CAA’s legit division. I’m told that Lane, free of the administrative duties that came with that job, will continue to rep his theater clients while working with the partners on initiatives that include generating funding for client-driven legit productions. That is a model that has made CAA’s independent film division a powerhouse, matching clients with financiers to get stuff made, with the agency packaging the films and making the domestic distribution deals. CAA has had a hand in such stage productions as the upcoming revival of Cabaret, the Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz-starrer Betrayal, the Ian McKellen/Billy Crudup-starrer No Man’s Land and Waiting For Godot, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Aladdin, Hedwig And The Angry Inch, Casa Valentina, Big Fish, and the upcoming Los Angeles production of the John Logan-penned Sue Mengers play I’ll Eat You Last, which stars Bette Midler.