Discovery has cancelled reality shows 7 Little Johnstons, Killer Confessions, The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead, Unusual Suspects and Hollywood & Crime (with The Little Couple in cancellation limbo), according to THR.
The news comes as LMNO, the production company behind the terminated shows, has issued a $7 million lawsuit against Discovery, accusing the company of conspiring with a “criminal extortionist” to get its hands on the shows in question.
In a statement, Discovery confirmed the cancellations while stating it will fight the lawsuit:
“Discovery is a global content company committed to operating with integrity in all our business practices and we expect our business partners to live up to that same standard. We understand that LMNO has issued a complaint against Discovery and while it’s not our practice to comment on ongoing litigation, we will vigorously defend against LMNO’s lawsuit.”
We have worked with LMNO Productions for more than a decade on a number of series and specials that have aired across many of Discovery’s global networks. Together, our companies have enjoyed great success. At this time, we have decided to terminate certain of our contracts with LMNO, based on the results of a lengthy review of long-standing production agreements which revealed procedures and practices that did not respect Discovery’s contractual rights. We believe that at the heart of any enterprise is trust and mutual respect between commercial partners.”
LMNO claims Discovery’s cancellation of The Little Couple is a “smokescreen” to continue the series on its own:
But LMNO says this was a “smokescreen” as Discovery “secretly began shooting new episodes of The Little Couple on its own more than a month ago as part of its scheme to take the show.”
Deadline further reports on the lawsuit:
The suit is replete with high drama. LMNO claims that it’s been the victim of an extortionist accountant who’d been embezzling from the company for years and falsifying the records to conceal his crime. When confronted, the suit claims, he attempted to extort $800,000 from the company, and when LMNO Productions president and CEO Eric Schotz refused, he turned the company’s financial records over to Discovery, which then launched an audit of LMNO’s books. According to the lawsuit, “Discovery’s actions were all designed to drum up the pretense of a contract dispute, so that Discovery could claim to ‘terminate’ the contracts and distance itself from LMNO. On June 17, 2016, Discovery did exactly that: sending notices of termination on six different series.”
The fallout leaves The Little Couple in limbo; 7 Little Johnstons cancelled after two seasons; Killer Confessions and The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead both axed after one season (the latter slated to premiere July 18, 2016); Unusual Suspects dead after eight seasons, plus Hollywood & Crime.
The Little Couple had already been renewed for Season 9, to premiere later in 2016. With Discovery reportedly filming new episodes on its own, the show which follows Bill Klein and Jen Arnold may not be cancelled indefinitely.
Indeed, Discovery may ultimately decide to continue all six shows, just not with LMNO. Stay tuned as we continue to monitor developments…