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‘Apprentice’ producer sues over sponsorships

Company claims to have exclusive rights to broker product placement agreements
/ Source: The Associated Press

Mark Burnett Productions, the company behind the Donald Trump show “The Apprentice,” has sued an entertainment company for allegedly telling advertisers it had exclusive rights to broker agreements to place products on the show.

In a lawsuit filed last week, Burnett Productions claimed that Madison Road Entertainment charged advertisers up to 250 percent more than it eventually paid to Burnett to get brands included in the on-air contestant challenges.

“The Apprentice” regularly challenges contestants to design products or advertising campaigns for such companies as Burger King and Pepsi, which pay to be included in the show.

Other companies often pay upfront fees for consideration and to design potential challenges, even if producers later decide not to include them in an episode, according to the lawsuit.

Burnett claims it worked with Madison Road only because the company said it had exclusive rights to negotiate on behalf of certain big potential advertisers, which were unnamed in the suit.

A Madison Road representative said the company had not yet reviewed the lawsuit, but disputes Burnett’s claims. The company said it intends to file a response to the suit.