Just a month after NBC renewed “Days of our Lives” for a landmark 55th season, producers Corday Productions, Inc. and Sony Pictures Television are in a legal dispute over compensation.
According to the publication, earlier today Corday Productions, Inc. filed a breach of contract and fraud complaint against Sony Pictures Television, including its Columbia Pictures and Screen Gems divisions, over what it says are deliberate attempts by Sony in keeping the soap opera at a disadvantage in terms of international distribution. Corday Productions further claims that Sony has played favorites by giving the economic advantage to “The Young and the Restless” when negotiating deals.
Using such terms as “treachery,” Corday Productions says that Sony has left the soap “completely unexploited for over five years.” The company has retained Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger’s Pierce O’Donnell, Dan Stone and Joshua Geller for legal representation.
“While the domestic ratings for ‘Days of our Lives’ have remained largely constant, Sony’s distribution receipts have decreased by over 50%,” reads part of the 33-page complaint, which seeks damages north of $20 million and insists on returning control of the show to Corday.
“This dramatic decline is directly attributable to a decision at the highest levels of Sony management to eliminate any competition to its own wholly-owned Series ‘The Young and the Restless’ also distributed by Sony,” the suit further states.
“In the annals of Hollywood television, it is difficult to identify a distributor more guilty of blatant conflict of interest, deceit, perfidy, and abuse of market power,” the suit says of Sony. “The only effective remedies are massive compensatory and punitive damages and immediate termination Sony’s exclusive, perpetual distribution agreement.”
“Among its myriad illegal acts, the worst financially for Corday is Sony’s failure to market the Series in foreign markets in good faith and compliance with laws prohibiting anticompetitive conduct,” says the suit, indicating that ‘DAYS’ isn’t licensed in “key foreign territories, including England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Canada, France, Zambia, and South Africa.”
The suit also says that Sony is enforcing its power of the show by “imposing solely on Corday the burden of absorbing the multi-million dollar annual operating deficits due to an inadequate NBC license fee and mandating an inefficient, costly production schedule.”
“My client will not sit idly by while Sony Pictures Television seeks to destroy its legendary ‘Days of Our Lives,'” said O’Donnell in a statement released to Deadline after filing the complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.
“Our complaint exposes Sony’s concerted campaign to abandon selling the 54-year-old celebrated television series in foreign markets while it promotes its own daytime drama The Young and The Restless,” the attorney adds. “We can’t wait to present this damning evidence to a Los Angeles jury. Everyone loves a good David versus Goliath story.”