For those who like to file lawsuits, the chance to file one against a TV network regarding a television series must be a huge draw. Larry Klayman, a man who has filed legal salvos against the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, and has also filed a class-action lawsuit against the Ground Zero mosque, may now pursue a lawsuit against the NBC series Outlaw.
Jimmy Smits stars in the series as a Supreme Court Justice who takes a stand against the establishment, and in an unprecedented move, quits the highest court in order to hopefully bring about some changes. It didn’t connect with many viewers, was cancelled after only a handful of episodes, and the remaining installments are now airing on Saturday nights. The series co-stars David Ramsey, Ellen Woglom, Carly Pope, and Jesse Bradford.
Klayman contends that three years ago, he got together with a group that included producer Cary Brokaw, former L.A. Law writer John Romano, and Fox Television Studios executive Dave Madden. They met with executives at NBC and pitched a series that was about someone very much like Klayman, a public-interest lawyer on a crusade. According to him, NBC was interested because their West Wing series already had a character based on him, Harry Klaypool. He even claims that “Outlaw” was amongst his suggested titles for the series.
Klayman claims that making the main character a Supreme Court judge was NBC adding its own twist to his idea. Other than that, he feels it was identical to the series he pitched. He doesn’t remember the names of the executives he met with at NBC, but says he can provide documents to prove his story.
NBC hasn’t commented about the claim yet, and a Fox Television Studios business and legal affairs executive, Shelly Reid, answered the call placed to Madden’s office. Reid reportedly declined to comment, but did state Fox wasn’t a party to this at all. Romano admits he worked with Klayman, but doesn’t recall going to NBC, but understands why they would have after West Wing. He admitted he was “also not struck by any similarities between Outlaw and the show Larry brought to us.”
Klayman hasn’t contacted NBC about this, but has an entertainment lawyer on retainer, wanting to negotiate it first. Klayman says that, if negotiating with the network doesn’t work out, he plans to bring a lawsuit against NBC.
It remains to be seen how much one could get over one of the most unsuccessful new series of this season. Maybe NBC could sue him for part of their losses?
What do you think? Does it sound like Klayman has a case?
Image courtesy NBC.