Discovery sues Deadliest Catch duo for $3 million
By Eriq Gardner
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Most reality TV producers follow a simple format: Capture what happens, and then have cast-members fill in story gaps with voice-overs and cutaways. But what to do when reality TV stars jump ship before sitting down for the required interviews?
Sue them, of course.
Discovery is seeking $3 million in damages after two stars of "Deadliest Catch," Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand, allegedly failed to live up to an agreement to complete a spin-off project.
According to the breach-of-contract lawsuit, filed last week in Maryland Circuit Court, the Hillstrands were to film a one-time special called "Hillstranded." The duo was coming off five seasons of "Deadliest Catch," one of the most popular programs on any Discovery-affiliated network. The special was to document the team's various adventures in Alaska; work unrelated to their jobs as crab fisherman. Two weeks of principal photography was shot in June, but there was still work to do.
"The Hillstrand Defendants determined that they would reverse course, dishonor their promises, and refuse to render the services necessary to complete 'Hillstranded,'" reads the complaint.
At the end of August, Discovery allegedly called the brothers to confirm a date, time and location for them to sit for interviews. The complaint says the only response was an e-mail from a lawyer for the brothers informing producers that they shouldn't attempt any further contact with them.
Discovery argues that the failure by Hillstrands to complete work has caused production on the show to remain uncompleted. The company says that the show would have earned significant ratings and that it has suffered substantial losses as a result.
The Hillstrands' lawyer likened the lawsuit to extortion, and said it might even force his clients to sell their boats and fire their crews. He also took aim at the network's well-paid top executive. Continued...