"Survivor" Svengali might need a tribal counsel

Wed Jul 9, 2008 2:54am EDT
 
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By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - In business, timing is everything.

And industry sources agree that the timing couldn't have been more perfect for Conrad Riggs to sue his longtime business partner, reality guru Mark Burnett, the man behind "Survivor" and "The Apprentice."

Riggs on Monday filed a 13-count complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing Burnett of breaching their partnership agreement and demanding more than $70 million in damages.

In the filing, Riggs contends that Burnett has reneged on their 10-year-old oral agreement to share all revenue 90-10.

According to Riggs, Burnett stopped payments and cut Riggs' access to financial information about his businesses in February 2007, and Riggs was evicted from Mark Burnett Prods.' offices a year later.

The lawsuit, however, wasn't filed until this week -- now that Burnett is reportedly negotiating to sell half of his company for $250 million to talent agency and TV producer IMG.

A $70 million lawsuit would be a hurdle in closing such a deal, so Riggs might get a quick settlement.

The complaint sheds light on Burnett's previous attempts to sell, including potential pacts with a media company and a private-equity investment firm in 2006.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

 
<p>Producer Mark Burnett addresses the audience about the upcoming Shrek III film during announcements by AOL regarding their 2007-2008 lineup in New York April 17, 2007. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>