After years of legal disputes, networks reach settlement

NBC Universal owned Telemundo and TV Azteca, Mexcio’s No. 2 web, are burying the hatchet after years of legal disputes.

The companies announced late Wednesday they had reached an out-of-court settlement regarding several lawsuits and said they would seek to keep any future disputes out of the courts.

At the heart of two lawsuits was TV Azteca’s claim that Telemundo, which has spent four years ramping up its original productions, was poaching TV Azteca talent. One of the suits also alleged Telemundo was copying TV Azteca’s hit reality show ‘La Academia.”

“Intellectual property is the cornerstone of the television business in any part of the world, and we see this agreement as a step forward in the development of Spanish-language television in the United States and Mexico,” said TV Azteca CEO Mario San Roman.

The companies did not provide details of the settlement.

TV Azteca and NBC’s legal problems date back to the 1990s when NBC partnered with the then-fledgling Mexican net. The webs’ programming and advisory support deal ended in court after TV Azteca refused to allow NBC a share of its stock. NBC sought $130 million but settled for $46 million.

Adding to bad blood, in 2005 TV Azteca torpedoed Telemundo’s hopes of buying a Mexico City UHF station Canal 40 to gain a foothold in the market when it took over the web itself.

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