Alphabet deal’s down to ‘Earth’

Granada, Casey-Werner close to settlement of dispute

Granada Entertainment and Carsey-Werner are close to settling their rights dispute over the upcoming ABC sitcom “Earth Scum,” and actress Katey Sagal (“Married … With Children”) is expected to co-star after her development deal with CBS expires next week.

Granada had claimed that “Earth Scum,” starring Mark Addy (“The Full Monty”), was based on their British comedy “Puny Humans” and that Carsey-Werner sold the comedy to ABC for midseason without proper permission (Daily Variety, May 6).

Sources close to the situation say all the major issues have been resolved, and they are just waiting to sign an official agreement. Carsey-Werner is expected to move forward with production of the pilot next month. Granada and ABC declined comment, and a spokesman for Carsey-Werner said, “We’re still in discussions.”

The settlement talks were “amicable,” according to one source, and Granada will now get official credit for “Earth Scum,” including acknowledgment that the show is inspired by Granada Media Group’s TV series “Puny Humans.”

While sources close to Carsey-Werner contend that the show is not a true co-production because Carsey-Werner will control all the creative aspects of the series, Granada is expected to receive credit on three separate cards at the end of each episode.

In addition to saying the show is based on “Puny Humans,” the series credits will contain a standalone card giving production credit to Granada Entertainment president Scott Siegler, and a third card will contain the Granada logo.

Carsey-Werner is expected to deficit finance the entire show, but Granada will benefit financially “in a significant way,” especially if the show is sold into syndication.

“Earth Scum” is a comedy about a mixed marriage between an alien and a human running a bar on another planet. Sagal has already signed on to co-star in second position, but unless CBS develops a separate series for her in the next couple of days, she will play opposite Addy as the series lead.

The rights dispute began after Carsey-Werner approached Granada to buy the rights to adapt “Puny Humans.” Granada said no because the company is interested in U.S. co-productions rather than rights sales, but Carsey-Werner went ahead and sold a script titled “Puny Humans” to ABC anyway.

Granada then fired off some terse letters to Carsey-Werner asking them to stop, and Carsey-Werner denied that the two shows were even related. The two sides then began negotiating a settlement, which was winding toward a conclusion Thursday evening.