Ashton Kutcher’s production company seeking $1.44M in breach of contract case

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

Miami viewers might remember Ashton Kutcher’s first reality TV venture, the successful MTV program “Punk’d.” Kutcher had hoped to follow that show with a series about employees at the California Department of Motor Vehicles, but evidently the organization reneged on earlier indications that it would participate in his show. Now, Kutcher’s production company has sued the DMV.

The basis of the lawsuit is essentially a contract dispute. The production company that Kutcher runs with his business partner, Jason Goldberg, claims that it negotiated a deal with the DMV in 2010 under which DMV employees would serve as the basis for a new half-hour reality program. Kutcher’s production company, Katalyst Media, claims that the DMV had agreed to participate in at least four episodes.

(In case you are wondering, the series was envisioned as depicting “the variously humorous, emotional, dramatic, moving, humanizing and entertaining situations that arise on a daily basis at DMVs more than 170 offices across the state of California.”)

However, Katalyst Media claims that the DMV “abruptly and without justifiable excuse” backed out of the deal, claiming that the show was “no longer in its best interests.”

Naturally, Katalyst Media didn’t like that because it had sold the series to TruTV had now had to explain to the cable station why it could no longer deliver the show they had talked about.

Katalyst Media and a second production company, Soda and Pop, Inc., are seeking $1.44 million in damages. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Ashton Kutcher Production Company Sues DMV for Backing Out of Reality Series,” Matthew Belloni, June 19, 2012