Fox to punish leaks after "Glee" spoiler

Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:46pm EDT
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The fallout from a "Glee" extra's revelation of key plot developments via Twitter could impact the way some TV contracts are drafted.

Nicole Crowther, a day player on the hit Fox musical, came under fire this week for sharing the names of the prom king and queen in an upcoming episode. In response, Glee co-creator Brad Falchuk quickly took to Twitter to slam Crowther, writing "hope you're qualified to do something besides work in entertainment ... Who are you to spoil something talented people have spent months to create?"

But according to a source close to the show, the standard SAG day-player union contracts "Glee" uses don't contain "NDA" (non-disclosure agreement) language providing for punishment when plot secrets are revealed. So while the studio and network might never hire a leaking extra again, the legal ramifications of spilling secrets are probably less serious.

An insider at "Glee" producer 20th Century Fox Television said the studio is considering amending all of its talent deals -- from series regulars to day players like Crowther -- to include strict punishments for blabbing online.

If so, it wouldn't be the only Hollywood studio to crack down on leaks via social networks. A growing number of studio deals contain new language aimed at plugging leaks of disparaging or confidential information about productions via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the rest.

In October 2009, a Disney contract came to light with a clause forbidding confidentiality breaches via "interactive media such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other interactive social network or personal blog." At the time, ABC had recently issued guidelines for tweeting while working on network shows, rules that included seven prohibited actions (including revealing spoilers).

Fox will likely add a liquidated damages provisions to its "Glee" deals, meaning the studio could collect a pre-set amount of money from an offending leaker (and, more likely, prevent them from leaking in the first place out of fear).

Hollywood is getting wise to the power of online media. The prom king on "Glee" might not impact national security, but it makes sense for studios to enact consequences for spoiling its heavily-guarded plot secrets.

<p>The cast of Glee in a promotional image. REUTERS/Courtesy FOX</p>