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Ashton Kutcher's company sues DMV over reality show contract

June 20, 2012 | 11:28 am

Ashton Kutcher's television production company is suing the state for $1.44 million, claiming it backed out of a deal to participate in a reality show centered on the Department of Motor Vehicles. 

Katalyst Media, the company behind such TV shows as "Punk'd," "Beauty and the Geek" and "True Beauty" claims the state agency breached a contract that would have allowed the company access to the DMV to produce a half-hour reality show featuring daily life inside the state agency.

Another company that was working on the project, Soda and Pop Inc., also is suing the DMV.

The suit filed by Hollywood attorney Marty Singer's law firm alleges Katalyst negotiated in 2010 with the DMV "to capture the variously humorous, emotional, dramatic, moving, humanizing and entertaining situations that arise on a daily basis at DMV's" offices.

The DMV director committed in writing to the show in June 2010. In May 2011, the production company founded by Kutcher and Jason Goldberg "executed a formal written agreement" with the DMV to provide access for filming in the summer and fall of 2011 of four initial episodes with an option of six more, according to the lawsuit filed last week.

The suit says DMV Deputy Director Mike Mirando publicly acknowledged plans for the show in newspaper stories published in August. Based on the DMV agreement, Katalyst struck a deal with TruTV to broadcast the show, the lawsuit says.

Mirando said Wednesday that he could not comment on pending litigation.

But the lawsuit claims "just six weeks after signing its Agreement, DMV abruptly and without justification, changed course. In a five-sentence letter to Katalyst producer Jason Goldberg, Mr. Mirando simply declared the DMV no longer considered the Series to be in it's 'best interests' and would therefore 'not be moving forward on such a project.'" 

Kutcher's company, which has also produced several movies, is suing for breach of contract and failure to abide by its promise. The suit claims the company spent money on pre-production.

In March, the state rejected a claim by the media companies. 

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--Richard Winton

 

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