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‘Will & Grace’ creators sue NBC

Claim the network purposefully undervalued the hit show
/ Source: Reuters

The creators of the hit NBC comedy “Will & Grace” sued the network and its in-house production company Thursday, claiming the companies conspired to keep them from their fair share of the show’s earnings.David Kohan and Jason “Max” Mutchnick accused NBC and NBC Studios, both units of General Electric Co., of deliberately undervaluing the sitcom in the deal by which the production company licensed the show to its sister network.The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty by the NBC companies.Kohan and Mutchnick said in their lawsuit that licensing terms for “Will & Grace,” one of the cornerstones of NBC’s Thursday lineup, were “insufficient even to cover a reasonable percentage of the series’ production costs.”A subsequent three-year extension of the original deal, signed in March 2002, set terms that were “tens of millions of dollars per season below fair-market value,” the lawsuit said.NBC executives declined to comment on the litigation, saying they had not seen the lawsuit. But sources familiar with the licensing agreement said the fees paid by NBC to its studio were as high or higher than those paid for comparable hits on NBC and other networks.The Emmy Award-winning series, now in its fifth season, centers on the friendship between a gay New York lawyer named Will and a straight interior decorator named Grace. Kohan and Mutchnick have since gone on to create the NBC comedy “Good Morning, Miami.”