Brillstein-Grey and Fox feud over new show

Brillstein-Grey Entertainment is in a financial spat with Fox Broadcasting Co. over the comedy “MV24,” which the production company was developing for the web’s fall schedule.

Fox had committed to 13 episodes of the comedy about a musicvideo channel, with Kevin Abbott (“Grace Under Fire”) on board as executive producer. However, Fox execs were apparently not thrilled with the show’s progress even after script rewrites and casting (which included Peter Scolari), and the web decided not to go forward.

While networks often decide to pass on a show after ordering it, Brillstein-Grey is upset because Fox had initially agreed to pay license fees for 13 episodes — which would be between $7 million and $9 million for “MV24” — and now is said to only want to cover costs for the unshot pilot.

Sources said Brillstein-Grey would ideally like payment for the pilot and the 12 additional episodes, but the production and management company may be willing to settle on an amount in between the costs of the pilot and the entire order.

Brillstein-Grey topper Brad Grey and Fox Entertainment Group president Peter Roth are currently debating how to resolve the dispute. Brillstein-Grey declined comment, while a Fox spokesman acknowledged that discussions are under way to work out a “fair and reasonable solution.”

If Fox is adamant about only paying for the pilot, it is possible that Brillstein-Grey would consider taking legal action against the network. But such action is unlikely because of the damage it would do to relationships the network has with the production company.

The Brillstein-Grey/Fox spat follows on the heels of another example of tense relations between networks and producers. DreamWorks and NBC are feuding over the fate of three comedy pilots the production company had in development at the Peacock web (Daily Variety, March 31).

And Fox’s decision to cancel the midseason action hour “Lawless” after only one episode also did not sit well with Sony’s Columbia TriStar Television, which produced the show.

While its premiere ratings were disappointing, Fox’s Roth said when canceling “Lawless” that the show’s quality was not up to the network’s standards. Fox is expected to pay Columbia for the five episodes that didn’t air.

Even with the removal of “MV24” from the web’s comedy development slate, Fox still has some 17 comedies in the works for a schedule that insiders say will add only a handful of new comedies.

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