Cable Notes

Feb 23, 2004  •  Post A Comment

A performance artist is suing MTV for breach of contract and fraud over a dance show hosted by Britney Spears and *NSYNC choreographer Wade Robson. According to documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, John Laraio (aka “Mobius 8”) had a contract with the network, Mr. Robson and producer Paul Buccieri to create a competitive dance show. After Mr. Laraio, Mr. Robson and Mr. Buccieri jointly produced a pilot, the “Wade Robson Project” was picked up as a series and premiered last fall. But Mr. Laraio claims he was “cut out of the deal entirely.” “It appears to be a pretty clear case,” said Mr. Laraio’s attorney, Glen Kulik. “Laraio brought Wade Robson to this project, together they produced a pilot … and the next thing we know MTV is producing `The Wade Robson Project,’ and from what we can tell, it’s the same show.” MTV declined to comment on the accusations.
Insight to Carry Start-Up Reality Central
Reality Central will be carried by Insight Communications, the first multiple system operator to sign the start-up network. Insight serves 1.4 million customers, but the number who will receive Reality Central is unclear. The current agreement calls for the network to be carried on digital channels. The network, headed by President and CEO Larry Namer and Chairman Kay Koplovitz, intends to show original and repurposed reality content. Reality Central, which faces competition from the similarly themed Reality TV cable network, has delayed its planned spring launch until later this year.
Comedy Central Readying Three New Series
Comedy Central said it will premiere three new series in the third and fourth quarters of 2004. One show features a United Kingdom-based sketch comedy group, the Hollow Men. Another is a strip called “Crossballs,” which spoofs the debate show format. The third show is “Odd Todd,” an animated series that follows the plight of a modern-day unemployed character.
Rigas Trial Begins This Week
Jury selection begins this week in New York in the trial of former Adelphia Communications Corp. executives John Rigas and his two sons. The Rigases are accused, along with former Adelphia executive Michael Mulcahey, of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars by illegally taking money out of the cable company, defrauding investors and misleading government regulators. All have pleaded not guilty. The primary issue will be a loan that the Rigas family made to itself that was guaranteed by Adelphia. The government also alleges that under the Rigas family Adelphia inflated its reported subscriber base and exaggerated the amount of its cable network that had been upgraded. In a pre-trial argument last week, U.S. Attorney Christopher Clark said he will present documents and electronic displays. U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand, who is presiding over the case, denied a motion by Michael Rigas’ attorney, Andrew Levander, that would have admitted results of a 2002 lie-detector test. Jury selection is expected to take about a week. The judge has said he hopes opening arguments will commence around March 1.