'Runway' Getting More Crowded: Harvey Asserts Counterclaim For Sabotage

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'Runway' Getting More Crowded: Harvey Asserts Counterclaim For Sabotage

Tue Oct 28, 2008 @ 01:34AM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Project_runway_2 You didn't think Harvey was going to just let this one go, did you? The catfight over "Project Runway's" move from Bravo to Lifetime has taken a (somewhat predictable) turn, with the Weinstein Co. filing a counterclaim on Friday alleging that NBC Universal's Bravo intentionally refused to promote Season 5 of the show because of the move.

TWC claims Bravo sabotaged the ratings and value of the show by changing its airtime, running few and "unappealing" ads and revealing spoilers about future episodes.

Here's TWC's full Answer and Counterclaim, as well as Lifetime's Answer. NBC Uni's (also predictable) response is here. Hint: they're not impressed, pointing out (somewhat persuasively, in our armchair opinion) that ratings for season 5 of "Runway" were the highest ever.

Some pretty major legal firepower on display in this one. The Weinsteins ponied up to hire Al Gore and Microsoft pitbull David Boies and his firm. Lifetime has New York A-list corporate firm Cravath Swaine & Moore. NBC Universal has been repped in the case by Orin Snyder in Gibson Dunn's New York office. 

As you'll recall, last month Judge Richard Lowe III issued a rare preliminary injunction barring the Weinstein-produced "Runway" from airing on Lifetime until this mess has been sorted out. NBC Universal claims that an unsigned 2003 license agreement between TWC and NBCU and a later amendment gave NBCU the "right of first refusal" for additional seasons of the show as well as spinoffs. When Harvey up and moved the show from Bravo to Lifetime earlier this year, he allegedly breached those deals.   

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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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