Inside Move: Output outcry

Kirsch Group may be headed back to court

There is renewed tension on the international TV scene — and once again it relates to the 5-year-old megabuck output deals between the Hollywood studios and Germany’s Kirch Group.

This time, Paramount is reportedly considering a lawsuit against Kirch for delinquent payments stemming from their output deal.

Kirch is said to owe Paramount more than $50 million. German weekly Der Spiegel reported last week that Viacom chief Sumner Redstone has personally pressed Leo Kirch for payment.

While a Kirch spokeswoman declined to comment on details of the reported tensions, she points out that the Teutonic company has been disappointed with the fare delivered by the studio.

“We’ve received too many TV movies and not nearly the number of theatrical pictures we had expected,” she says.

That’s the same sentiment that led to the Kirch Group’s lawsuit against Universal, filed in late 1999, alleging that that studio had reneged on its output deal with Kirch by providing too few movies and too many unusable TV shows. That suit was later thrown out by an L.A. court, but a countersuit by Universal against Kirch is still pending.

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