Cable channel pulls seg on Willis

Pierson may take 'defamatory' piece to tabloid TV

NEW YORK — Cable’s Independent Film Channel has pulled an episode of indie guru John Pierson’s show “Split Screen” that included a seg about Bruce Willis’ involvement in the town of Hailey, Idaho, after a lawyer representing the actor threatened to file a lawsuit against IFC and Pierson if the piece aired.

In a letter dated Oct. 8, Willis’ attorney, Marty Singer of L.A.-based Lively & Singer, states that the segment contains “numerous false and defamatory statements about Mr. Willis, given by unreliable and/or biased sources, and/or by persons who were outrageously provoked into making disingenuous statements about my client.”

In the 16-minute segment — which was skedded to air Oct. 18 (a rerun was aired in its stead) — Brian Flemming and Keythe Farley, two L.A.-based “Split Screen” correspondents, visited the Idaho burg (population 5,000) to find out what kind of impact Willis had on the lives of the town’s residents since buying land in the late 1980s.

“This is not a case of intimidation,” Singer told Daily Variety. “We proved to the Independent Film Channel that this was a defamatory piece and that it left them exposed to a lawsuit. They subsequently chose not to air it.” A spokesperson for IFC had no comment.

Pierson is currently shopping the segment to tabloid TV shows.