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Shine starts legal fight with Five

U.K. producers claim new owner has changed terms

U.K. TV production banner Shine is suing to recoup fees of around £1 million ($1.6 million) from Channel 5’s new owner, Northern & Shell, for the entertainment show “Don’t Stop Believing.”

Move comes as producers’ lobby group Pact has accused N&S, owned by Richard Desmond, of unilaterally altering agreed contracts on payments.

In a statement, the Elisabeth Murdoch owned Shine said Desmond’s firm has a reputation “for taking an overtly aggressive stance towards its suppliers” and while this may have been effective in the past, “it is not acceptable within the U.K.’s independent TV production sector.”

The statement continued: “Shine cannot tolerate a new owner … reneging on contractual commitments made by Channel 5’s previous owners RTL and has instructed litigators Reed Smith to use all legal recourse to recover the debt.

“Don’t Stop Believing,” co-produced by Shine and Group M, is billed as “Glee” meets “The X Factor” and is fronted by former Spice Girl Emma Bunton.

It is believed that N&S is refusing to pay the final installments of fees because the show performed poorly.

Ten other production companies, including All3Media, are involved in spats with N&S, which bought Channel 5 from RTL for £104 million ($165 million) in July.

Pact CEO John McVay said he had been negotiating with N&S for two weeks as producers complained about changes to the terms of existing contracts. “They are changing 30-day payment terms to 60 days. The larger companies may be able to survive the effect on their cash flow but many smaller ones can’t.”

A PR company representing N&S declined to comment.

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