Actor Jack Klugman in August 2005.Jack Klugman's case against NBC Universal hasn't even really begun yet, but the Quincy M.E. star landed a victory of sorts against the media giant today when NBC was ordered to fork over copies of Klugman's contract as he seeks to audit the conglom's books. NBC-U says the eight-year series accumulated $66 million in losses during its run, a common and typically unsubstantiated and sometimes hugely ridiculous claim made by every network ever to exist in order to escape their contractual obligations to share profits with certain stars and producers. A famous example has Fox insisting that despite being on the air for almost two decades and producing an equally mind boggling 19 seasons, The Simpsons is "still" losing money for the network and that it can't share in profits that it doesn't really have. Fox would have us all believe that they are extremely stupid when it comes to sound business practices, or that the network with a reputation for quickly canceling critically acclaimed series (*cough* Firefly) has a really soft spot in their heart of the iconic Homer.
I leave it to you to make your own judgment in that case, but Klugman doesn't appear interested in swallowing such dubious claims without a fight. A requested a copy of the actors old contract with NBC so that his lawyer could review it was initially refused, only to have NBC reverse course under the conditions that the document could only be viewed in an NBC office and not copied.
Klugman asked a judge to compel NBC to release the documents, and today according to the Hollywood Reporter, Judge Gregory Alarcon did just that:
The studio's lawyers responded that they were unable to send the contract, but that Johnson could view the 30-year-old documents in their offices, but that copies or notes of the papers were prohibited .. because some of the papers involving the series contained confidential information.
"Because the defendants offered to provide plaintiffs with access to the contract they seek, the court finds good cause to order defendants to provide that access again and to permit the copying of the documents for purposes of judicial economy and to promote the ends of justice in an effort to resolve the dispute," Alarcon wrote in his tentative ruling.
It isn't known at this time if NBC-U plans to appeal the ruling.