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Heir fighting ‘Mod,’ sues

Son of series creator files suit against Spelling Entertainment

The son of the undercover cop who created “The Mod Squad” TV series show has sued the Spelling Entertainment Group and MGM, accusing the two companies of cheating him out of his legal and financial rights to a feature version of the 1968-1973 show that they’re co-producing.

Richard Ruskin, son of “Mod Squad” creator Robert “Buddy” Ruskin, filed suit in federal court this week, seeking a jury trial to prove that Aaron Spelling and his Spelling Entertainment Group never legally purchased film rights from his now-deceased father. These “separated rights” are owned by the creator of a television series.

Further, the suit claims that Spelling, through the William Morris Agency, told Richard Ruskin that he was entitled to no pay-off with respect to the film. They then allegedly duped Ruskin into signing a “quitclaim” giving up the “Mod” rights he inherited from his father, in exchange for only $7,500. In fact, Ruskin’s film, merchandising and publishing rights should be worth millions, the complaint claims.

The film version of “The Mod Squad” stars Claire Danes, Giovanni Ribisi and Omar Epps as delinquents recruited as undercover cops and assigned to infiltrate illegal activities in the Los Angeles demimonde. Pic is scheduled to start lensing later this month. Scott Silver is directing from a script he wrote with Tony Kay.

Los Angeles attorney David Browne is representing Ruskin.

Spokespeople for Spelling and MGM said the companies had no comment on the suit.