You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cannell nixes ‘Viper’ title

Stephen J. Cannell Prods. has apparently headed off a Chrysler Corp. lawsuit by changing the name of its new syndicated Michael Dudikoff series from “Viper” to “Cobra.”

The announcement came at the same time as word that Cannell has entered into an arrangement with Paramount’s Premier Advertiser Sales to handle barter sales for the show.

The two events appear to be related, since Paramount Network Television has its own “Viper” series in the works. Par signed a deal with Chrysler to use its $ 50,000 Dodge Viper sports car in a potential series being developed for CBS.

When Chrysler discovered Cannell was using the “Viper” name, it filed a trademark infringement suit in U.S. District Court last month.

A joint statement released yesterday by Cannell and Par TV Group chairman Kerry McCluggage made no reference to the suit, but noted that there was concern about the confusion that would be created if both shows premiered with the same title.

Since Par is looking at a show that’s centered around a specific model car — a latter-day “Knight Rider” of sorts — and Cannell is focusing on a crime fighter whose name is Viper, Cannell figured the name could be changed without sacrificing the creative concept of the series.

“Knowing that confusion existed and that we would be doing business with Paramount on the barter issue, we were able to change the name,” a Cannell spokeswoman said.

Although Cannell has already sunk a great deal of money into advertising and promoting “Viper,” which was introduced as a last-minute addition at January’s National Assn. of Television Program Executives convention, the company rep said the mid-stream change to “Cobra” won’t be much of a problem.

“We’re only just beginning to launch the series,” she said.

Cannell has cleared the newly christened “Cobra” on stations covering 71% of the country.

For New York-based Premier, the nation’s largest barter company outside of the three networks and Fox Broadcasting, the agreement marks the latest in a string of relationships with companies other than Paramount.

Over the years, Premier has handled barter product for Viacom, MCA (a former partner in the advertising company), Columbia and Orbis.

Premier’s primary product consists of Paramount’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” as well as “The Untouchables.”

More TV

  • 'Fleabag' Season 2 Review: How Its

    'Fleabag': Season 2’s Top 10 Breaks From Reality, Ranked (Column)

    The searing first season of “Fleabag” felt like a complete story in and of itself. As adapted from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show, the series expanded on the world of a woman wild with lust and grief with such expert ease that by the time it ended, even Waller-Bridge herself was sure that it was the [...]

  • Richard Madden Says 'Game of Thrones'

    Richard Madden Says the 'Game of Thrones' Cast Deserves a Medal

    Richard Madden is thankful for his time on “Game of Thrones,” but is also happy to have been able to move on when he did. The “Bodyguard” star sat down with “Sharper Objects'” Amy Adams for Variety’s Actors on Actors, where he expressed some incredulity at the idea of spending so long with just one [...]

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    Submissions Now Welcome for Third 'Meet the Press' Film Festival

    Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]

  • Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song

    Netherlands' Duncan Laurence Wins 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

    Madonna’s controversial performance may have grabbed the headlines, but Duncan Laurence won the nearly four-hour-long 2019 Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands with the song “Arcade,” which he cowrote with Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy. Laurence won a total of 492 points from the expert juries and televoters in a contest that was touch and [...]

  • 'SNL' Cold Open Has Alec Baldwin's

    'SNL' Cold Open Has Alec Baldwin's Trump Rocking Out to Queen

    The cold open for the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” saw the Trump administration taking some liberties with a rock classic. Alec Baldwin returned as President Donald Trump, letting America know that he is going to be taking it easy now that summer is nearly here. He then said he was going to do [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content