Nickelodeon refuses to cave in 'Dora' standoff

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Nickelodeon refuses to cave in 'Dora' standoff

Thu Oct 14, 2010 @ 10:35PM PST

By Matthew Belloni and Georg Szalai

Sanchez,caitlin Poor John Balestriere. The attorney for ex-"Dora the Explorer" voice Caitlin Sanchez really went for broke, firing off a threatening letter on Tuesday warning that if Nickelodeon didn't make his 14-year-old client a substantial offer to settle her lawsuit over an "unconscionable" contract by 1pm Wednesday, he'd start humiliating the network by exposing unflattering secrets and green-lighting Sanchez to do media interviews.

But Wednesday came and went, and all Balestriere seems to have done is antagonize Nickelodeon.   

"The threats made to us by the lawyer are not only totally inappropriate, but it truly saddens us that he would try to use a 14-year-old girl to gain what he believes would be some sort of advantage," a Nick rep told the NY Post. "Our company prides itself on its honesty and integrity and has nothing to hide. Intimidation tactics will not help in the resolution of this dispute."

So what's his next move? Balestriere hasn't actually specified how much he wants Nickelodeon or parent Viacom to pay Sanchez, but it's said to be in the millions of dollars (she supposedly made about $300,000 from her "Dora" gig before being fired when her voice changed). Balestriere now tells THR he doesn't expect Nick to offer any settlement in the short term. He maintains that the network took advantage of Sanchez, refusing to pay her a cut of lucrative merchandising or residuals.

"We're in the right here and are simply focusing now on pushing the case forward and are ready to fight however long we need to," Balestriere tells us.

So again: What's his next move?

"There are many possible next steps and I can't say right now which step will be next," he says. "We simply want to push the litigation along as quickly as we can, though I expect Nickelodeon will do all it can to prevent this case from being decided on the merits."

A Nick rep tells us the network still remains hopeful that the case will be resolved quickly.    

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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