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Family lands in court over ‘Deal’

An indie TV production company has accused the Family Channel of playing “Let’s Break a Deal.”

Stone Stanley Prods. has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit claiming the Family Channel reneged on an agreement struck earlier this year for Stone Stanley to produce new episodes of the gameshow classic “Let’s Make a Deal” for the cabler’s daytime schedule this fall.

A spokesman for the Family Channel, which was acquired in June by the Fox Kids Worldwide partnership of News Corp. and Saban Entertainment, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

The complaint, filed Nov. 10 in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims Family Channel execs breached the agreement in July by abruptly deciding to cancel the show.

According to the suit, Stone Stanley’s five-year license agreement with the cabler for “Let’s Make a Deal” included a commitment for 13 weeks, or 65 hour-long episodes, of production.

The defendants are seeking at least $3.9 million in damages, based on the value of the agreed-upon license fee for the initial 13 weeks. The complaint doesn’t delve into the recent history of the Family Channel, but the cabler’s program lineup was revised over the summer after its parent company, Intl. Family Entertainment, was acquired by Fox Kids Worldwide with the intent of going all kidvid in daytime next year.

Stone Stanley, headed by principles Scott Stone and David Stanley, acquired the rights to “Let’s Make a Deal” from creators Monty Hall and Stefan Hatos in May 1995. A primetime version of the shop-and-swap gamer, “Big Deal,” had a short run on Fox last year.

Stone Stanley now is understood to be in talks with a major studio for a syndie revival of the original format.

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