A 54-year-old television writer has filed an age-discrimination lawsuit Wednesday against the WB network and 20th Century Fox Television, alleging he was passed over for a showrunner position on the series “Reba” and denied a writing job in favor of less-qualified, younger writers.
Gary H. Miller’s lawsuit alleges the executive producer/showrunner for “Reba” wanted to hire him as co-executive producer in late spring 2001 but WB and Fox Television execs refused to approve him for the position and instead gave the showrunner a list of substantially younger writers to choose from.
Through the persistence of the showrunner, Miller was eventually hired for the lower-paying position of consulting producer, his suit says.
Throughout the first season of “Reba,” Miller functioned essentially as co-executive producer, and one of the episodes he wrote was submitted for Emmy consideration, according to the lawsuit.
Miller was first told by the showrunner that he would be hired as co-executive producer when the show was picked up for a second season.
However, the showrunner was later fired and although Miller had previous showrunner experience, he was not considered for the position, the suit contends.
Later, it continues, he was told he would not be retained for any writing position on the show, although some of the “greener writers” were being rehired, which the lawsuit calls “an obvious euphemism for the younger, less-experienced individuals.”
Miller seeks an injunction barring WB, which airs “Reba,” and Fox Television, which produces the show, from practicing age discrimination. He also seeks damages to be determined at trial, including punitive damages.
A rep for Fox Television could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.