Former Reba creator and showrunner Allison Gibson has been denied her claim on profits from the sitcom’s second season for a second time. California’s Second District Court of Appeal reaffirmed a trial judge’s decision that 20th Century Fox Television did not commit breach of contract by not paying Gibson a 25% vested share in Reba’s sophomore season’s revenues. The co-executive producer was let go from Reba in March 2002, two months before the show’s first season concluded. Gibson, who had a two-year contract that paid her a portion of Reba’s adjusted gross, charged in her initial October 28, 2011 suit against Fox that she was entitled to her vested shares in the second season because she was already working on season two when she was dismissed. The court disagreed. “The trial court granted defendant’s motion for summary adjudication on the ground that the contract was unambiguous and that Gibson was not entitled to any relief,” wrote the court. “Gibson argues that the contract was unambiguous and should be interpreted in her favor, and that alternatively, the contract was ambiguous so that there is a triable issue of fact. We affirm because the contract is not reasonably susceptible to Gibson’s interpretation, and is consistent with the trial court’s interpretation.” Starring singer Reba McEntire, Reba debuted October 5, 2001 on The WB. The show ran until 2007. Gibson has another case against 20th Century Fox Television claiming that she was underpaid by over $650,000 on the modified adjusted gross that she did receive. Richard Ross and Bruce Adelstein of the Richard G. Sherman Law Offices represented Gibson in this case. David Fink and Kenneth D. Kronstadt of LA firm Kelley Drye & Warren represented 20th Century Fox Television
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
It’s still a single-camera comedy world in broadcast network primetime. Only two new four-camera comedies are premiering this fall. But the exec producer of one of them, Kevin Abbott, is determined to keep the fire burning for the form, as he maintained during a TCA panel this afternoon for ABC‘s new Friday night comedy Malibu Country. The show stars Reba (just Reba these days) as a country star who moves to Malibu from Nashville, with Lily Tomlin costarring. When it was suggested that Malibu Country should be given greater cache on the network schedule as an old-fashioned throwback comedy, Abbott deadpanned, “Let’s see how this Modern Family thing plays out, maybe we get Wednesday night at 9.” Actually, Abbott said he was pretty happy being paired on Friday nights at 8:30 with fellow four-camera comedy Last Man Standing, which he called “a really good decision.” But he also emphasized how four-camera has gotten a bad knock. “I think that it’s never about how many cameras you have shooting it, it’s about the people doing it, it’s about the writers, it’s about the actors, it’s about the director,” he said. And if you do a good show people will watch it… I love four-camera because I get to go out there on show night and watch the audience react, I can maybe change a few lines to make it better. And I think that has great value.”