Powered by i.TV
April 18, 2014

'Smallville' Becomes Legal Battleground

by Scott Harris, posted Mar 29th 2010 12:30PM
Over the last 75 years, Superman has taken on challengers of all shapes and sizes, from alien overlords, to mischievous imps to killer robots. But now he's about to face a menace far more dangerous than Lex Luthor could ever be: a phalanx of Hollywood lawyers.

That's because, according to the Hollywood Reporter, 'Smallville' creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough have teamed up with series co-producer Tollin/Robbins Productions in a lawsuit against Warner Bros. and the CW network. The allegation? Bilking 'Smallville' producers out of profits through the iffy industry practice known as "vertical integration."Over the last 75 years, Superman has taken on challengers of all shapes and sizes, from alien overlords, to mischievous imps to killer robots. But now he's about to face a menace far more dangerous than Lex Luthor could ever be: a phalanx of Hollywood lawyers.

That's because, according to the Hollywood Reporter, 'Smallville' creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough have teamed up with series co-producer Tollin/Robbins Productions in a lawsuit against Warner Bros. and the CW network. The allegation? Bilking 'Smallville' producers out of profits through the iffy industry practice known as "vertical integration."

While vertical integration may sound like a fancy description of Tetris strategy, it's actually a practice in which corporations reduce costs and boost profits by cutting below-market deals internally. In this case, it is alleged that among other infractions, parent company Time Warner arranged to cook their books by having Warner Bros. license 'Smallville' at a below-market price to its CW branch of operations. And lower fees, of course, means less money paid out to Millar and Gough, which is where the lawsuit comes in.

This sort of thing is hardly new in Hollywood. In the aftermath of the industry's massive "synergy" push in the late '90s, an equally massive wave of lawsuits abounded at the beginning of this decade as high profile shows such as 'The X-Files,' 'Home Improvement' and 'Will & Grace' all ended up in courtrooms thanks to the practice of vertical integration.

If those cases are any indication, though, then Time Warner may be in trouble, as the first two led to rulings against the studios while the third was settled out of court. And considering the lawsuit also encompasses international licensing and alleged corporate tax dodges, it's no wonder the producers are seeking "millions of dollars" in compensation. Which could spell danger even for the company that owns Superman.

Because, after all, green isn't just the color of money. It's also the color of Kryptonite.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

Follow Us

From Our Partners