Dharma & Greg (1997–2002)
In a strange twist, the outcome of the litigation also could take a big chunk of money away from "Dharma" co-creator Chuck Lorre.
In October 2007, a lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by several creative forces behind "Dharma," including star Jenna Elfman, co-creator Dottie Dartland, director James Burrows, executive producer More-Medavoy Management and talent agency Slessinger & Associates.
The plaintiffs claimed that Twentieth, which produced the show, was underpaying them in part by improperly deducting Lorre's considerable backend interest before calculating what was owed to them under their own deals.
In April, Judge Joseph Biderman ruled that the studio's Modified Adjusted Gross Receipts payments to Lorre's Meshuggenah Prods. and
Jensen, who plays Christina on the hit show, will quit Ugly Betty at the end of the current season so she can take a role in Elfman's Accidentally on Purpose, in which the former Dharma & Greg star plays a movie critic who finds herself pregnant.
But Jensen won't be saying goodbye to Betty forever - sitcom producer Silvio Horta tells Entertainment Weekly magazine, "While we're sad that Ashley will not be returning next season as a series regular, she is still a member of the Ugly Betty family. So don't be surprised if you see Christina pop back up in Betty's life."
At issue in the state court lawsuit, filed Oct. 1 in Santa Monica, is the modified adjusted gross receipts agreement with co-creators Dottie Dartland and Chuck Lorre.
The plaintiffs claim that Fox improperly deducted those modified adjusted gross receipts payments to Dartland and Lorre from the gross receipts of the series, and that significantly understated their share of the modified adjusted gross receipts.
The plaintiffs include Jenna Elfman, Dartland, Michael Slessinger, executive producer James Burrows and More-Medavoy Management. Lorre is not a party to the litigation.
A Fox spokesman said the studio does not comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit's claims are broken down by the percentage each plaintiff claims that they're entitled to get. For example, Elfman and Slessinger, who acted as a consultant with regard to creation, development and licensing of the series, claim that Fox agreed to pay each of them 5% of the modified adjusted gross receipts.
Dartland Zicklin has come on board the network's comedy pilot starring Elfman and executive produced by Darren Star as executive producer/showrunner.
The project, tentatively titled Literary Superstars, centers on a sexy and sassy literary publicist (Elfman) who is fighting for the rights of her authors while balancing a busy social schedule.
Matthew Reilly penned the pilot, which Zicklin will executive produce with Star.
Originally set up at Sony Pictures TV where Star is based, Superstars will now become a co-production with ABC Studios where Dartland Zicklin has an overall deal.
Dartland Zicklin's series credits also include Cybill and Grace Under Fire.
Dummer and Saade, both veteran unscripted executives at the network, have overseen the day-to-day operations of the department since April, when ABC's former reality maven, Andrea Wang, departed to head Lifetime, and have been considered the primary candidates to succeed her.
In their new capacity, Saade and Dummer will jointly oversee development, current and production for ABC's alternative series, with Saade focusing on development and Dummer on current and specials. They will report to ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson.
"John and Vicki have impressive track records, incredible creative instincts and really complement each other in their skill sets," McPherson said. "They make a great team and continually discover, develop and execute original alternative programming. Their expanded responsibilities will continue to help ABC excel in the genre."
Dummer and Saade were instrumental in the shepherding of such ABC reality series as Dancing With the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Supernanny and American Inventor.
ABC had a ho-hum summer with unscripted series The Ex-Wives Club, Shaq's Big Challenge, The Next Big Thing, American Inventor and Fast Cars & Superstars. The network is gearing up for the return of its reality juggernaut Dancing.
Dummer joined ABC in 1996, when she worked in the network's comedy department, handling such series as 8 Simple Rules, According to Jim, Dharma & Greg, The Drew Carey Show, Less Than Perfect and Whose Line Is it Anyway? She segued to a split duty in the unscripted and current departments in 2000, when she was upped to vp current programming and alternative series development.
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