NBC, Dick Wolf Take 'Law & Order' Dispute to Real Courtroom

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NBC, Dick Wolf Take 'Law & Order' Dispute to Real Courtroom

Mon Jan 28, 2008 @ 02:08PM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Wolfdick For years, Dick Wolf has given NBC Universal a valuable franchise of law-based dramas called "Law & Order." Now, the big producer is giving them a bit more — a legal headache.

On Friday, NBC Universal filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Wolf asking a court to interpret a contract between the two parties. At issue is the amount of executive producer fees Wolf is entitled to receive. NBC claims that it is only required to pay for episodes actually produced. Wolf says that NBC orders his series in blocks and if they aren't produced, he's entitled to a "kill fee."

NBC Universal claims that Wolf's position would provide him "with an unintended windfall of millions of dollars."

Judging by the complaint, the confusion may have arisen over whether NBC Universal's block-episode pay guarantee was for the network's initial order in its 2004 agreement with Wolf or whether those same types of commitments extended to subsequent episode orders.

It also suggests there is a difference of opinion on what terms were agreed upon in the short-form contract and what ended up memorialized in the long-form deal.

NBC is represented by litigator (and THR Power Lawyer!) Scott Edelman of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; Wolf has a team from Lavely & Singer.

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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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