Producer Dana Brunetti filed suit on Friday seeking to block the second season of the anthology series “Manhunt,” which is set to dramatize the bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Brunetti sued Lionsgate, the production company, as well as Discovery Communications and Charter Communications. Brunetti, the producer of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and many other films, was an executive producer on the first season of “Manhunt,” which dealt with the Unabomber case. The show ran on Discovery Channel in 2017.
In the suit, Brunetti said he pitched the show to John Goldwyn, then the executive producer of scripted content at Discovery, in 2015. He said he also hired Andrew Sodroski to write the series. Brunetti said he had pitched the show as an anthology, similar to “True Detective,” that would tell different stories with different characters in subsequent seasons.
After the first season aired, Brunetti alleges that Discovery turned around and sold the second season to Charter as a “Spectrum Original” — without informing Brunetti.
“It was not until Brunetti encountered an article in the press, on or about July 17, 2018, that he became aware of the possibility that Discovery had sold the Anthology Series,” the suit states.
According to the suit, Discovery took the position that Brunetti was only ever supposed to be involved on shows about the lead detective in the Unabomber case. Brunetti contends that that was not so, and that the Atlanta Olympics case was even mentioned as a potential follow-up season. Goldwyn and Sodroski remain involved as producers on the second season. Goldwyn was named as a defendant in the suit.
The suit says that Discovery has since claimed that it was internally considering a separate anthology series, and that that show is what became the second season of “Manhunt.”
“It now appears Discovery always had the secret intention of excluding Producers… after the first season of ‘Manhunt’ and misappropriating the Anthology Series disclosed in confidence by Producers,” the suit states.
The suit notes that the second season is now in production, and states that Brunetti will seek an injunction to block it from being broadcast until the breach of contract suit is resolved.
The suit cites 17 causes of action and contends that Brunetti has suffered at least $422,000 in damages.
Discovery and Lionsgate declined to comment.