Warner Bros Television and the creators of Smallville are not taking their multimillion-dollar legal battle to a jury after all. Lawyers for WBTV and co-creators/writers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough announced in a hearing today that they have reached a settlement in their breach of contract and conflict of interest dispute. No details of the settlement were made public. LA Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson told the parties today that they now have until August 30 to file a formal request for dismissal. Millar and Gough along with Tollin/Robbins Productions claimed in their initial $100 million vertical integration suit, first filed in March 2010, that WBTV signed low-balling licensing deals with the WB and later the CW that were nowhere near the requisite arms-length nor conducted with the good faith that they should have been. Tollin/Robbins came to a settlement with WBTV back in early January. READ MORE »
This was sent to Warner Bros Television Group employees today:
It is with a heavy heart that I write to let you know that, following several months of uncertainty, my 26-year run at Warner Bros. has come to an end.
I have had the pleasure of working alongside the most talented, creative and innovative people in our business … from our executives and staff to the amazing group of creative talent both in front of and behind the cameras. Each of your contributions helped Warner Bros. set the standard for excellence in the television industry. The magnitude of what you have accomplished has been and continues to be a truly meaningful contribution to Warner Bros.’ overall success and a matter of great pride to myself.
Deadline’s Nikki Finke broke the story over the weekend that Bruce Rosenblum was leaving his post as head of Warner Bros Television. Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara confirmed Saturday night and made it official today with a release and a memo to staff from he and Warners chairman Barry Meyer. The restructuring (see below) at the TV division, as expected, includes expanded duties for Peter Roth who is now president and COO. Here’s the memo that went around:
In his 25 years at Warner Bros., as all of you know, Bruce helped build one of the world’s most successful global television production and distribution operations. With his great energy, skill, creativity and vision, Bruce – and the strong team he has built around him – was responsible for some of the most popular and successful television series of all time, including “Friends,” “ER,” “The West Wing,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Two Broke Girls,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Bachelor.”
Bruce has been a vital member of the Warner Bros. family and a good friend to so many of us, and he will be missed.
Please join us in congratulating Bruce for his remarkable tenure at the Studio and wishing him great success as he embarks on the next chapter of his career and life.
Here are the details of the restructuring from today’s release:
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros TV Shake-Up – Top Exec Bruce Rosenblum Settled Out And Peter Roth Signed To Big Long-Term Deal; All The Behind-The-Scenes Drama & Detail
UPDATE SUNDAY 2 PM: Warner Bros Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara is finally confirming internally my news that Warner Bros Television Group Bruce Rosenblum is exiting. This, after Tsujihara for months and even in recent weeks has told almost everyone there that Rosenblum was staying.
BREAKING … SATURDAY 10 PM… EXCLUSIVE: Hollywood always fires people in success, or so the saying goes. I’ve learned that the announcement by Warner Bros Entertainment CEO (and soon-to-be-chairman) Kevin Tsujihara is planned for 7 to 14 days after next week’s TV upfront presentations. Despite Tsujihara’s claims for months that he hadn’t made up his mind what to do about the brilliant but sharp-elbowed Bruce Rosenblum, I can tell you Tsujihara declared from Day One of his new job that “Bruce is an unnecessary layer of management”. This, even though Rosenblum’s Warner Bros Television Group consistently contributes half of Warner Bros Entertainment’s profits year after year. I’m told that Rosenblum won’t be replaced as President of the Warner Bros Television Group now that he’s quietly settled out his contract which expires in August. (Tsujihara never made a move to negotiate a new one for him.) Some already expect Rosenblum not to turn up at next week’s upfronts. Instead Bruce is sitting on a fat severance package in recognition of his more than two outstanding decades at Warner Bros and for keeping his mouth shut during the humiliation of losing the WB CEO job and then getting kicked to the curb on top of that. Many in Hollywood thought Tsujihara might keep Rosenblum in place rather than bust up what is so obviously a winning formula atop the TV group. Instead Tsujihara proved that, just like his Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes, he is more obsessed by politics and personality than profit. (“It would have been pretty awkward, quite frankly,” Tsujihara told the TV community about keeping Rosenblum on.)
Warner Bros Television President Peter Roth has just been signed to a new long-term deal and will report to Tsujihara for the first time. Roth reps the increasing power of content and the executives directly responsible for its creation. ”As I look at the key people that exist, Peter comes at the top of the list. He’s at the top of the game right now creatively,” Tsujihara enthused privately on Day One of his new job. But Rosenblum’s roles will be assumed by a new WBTV leadership mix including Warner Bros TV Group EVP Craig Hunegs, Warner Bros International Distribution President Jeffrey Schlesinger, and Warner Bros Television EVP Brett Paul. (“Peter is the big teddy bear but Brent was sent in to beat you up,” notes one exec.) These guys are some of what Bewkes was referring to back on January 28th when he talked about the “very strong benches of people beneath”. All will become the TV group’s new sharp-elbowed negotiators who won’t rub people the wrong way like Rosenblum did.
It’s been a professional and emotional roller-coaster for Rosenblum ever since he expected the top job and didn’t get it.
UPDATED: J.J. Abrams is staying put at Warner Bros Television. The uber-writer-director-producer has closed a new three-year development and production deal with the TV studio, where Bad Robot Prods — which Abrams runs with long-time partner Bryan Burk — has been based since 2006. Back then, Abrams inked simultaneously two massive deals: a first-look pact with Paramount and a development/production deal with Warner Bros TV. In February, Abrams and Paramount extended their deal through end of 2015. Now the new pact with WBTV will keep him at the studio until 2015.
With his old deal coming up, I hear there was no question on Warner Bros’ or Abrams’ mind whether to continue the relationship. Like with any deals of that scope (the original deal reportedly guaranteed $4 million plus $2 million in overhead per year), it took time for terms to be negotiated. (UPDATE: We hear a major sticking point was the fact that the Bad Robot-produced CBS series Person of Interest is not available online.) But while talks were going on, it was business as usual on the development and production side, as evidenced by the pilot production commitment that Bad Robot and WBTV landed at Fox last night for a robot-cop drama written by Fringe showrunner J.H. Wyman. Under the extension, Bad Robot will continue developing new TV projects to be produced in association with Warner Bros Television, with Abrams and Burk serving as executive producers.