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Federal Judge Sides With Discovery in Fight Over ‘7 Little Johnstons’ Footage

Variety logo Variety 12/10/2016 Cynthia Littleton
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A federal judge has sided with Discovery Communications in the battle over footage shot for a TV special revolving around the family on TLC’s “7 Little Johnstons.”

Discovery and LMNO have been battling in federal court in Los Angeles since June in a tangled case that involves Discovery’s allegations of LMNO’s fraudulent accounting and LMNO’s accusation that the TV giant took programs away from LMNO to favor its in-house production studio.

Discovery in September sought a legal declaration forcing LMNO to hand over footage that it shot for a “Johnstons” TV special. LMNO maintains Discovery has yet to fully pay the costs incurred for that footage.

On Friday, federal magistrate judge Steve Kim issued a recommendation that the judge overseeing the Discovery-LMNO case, U.S. district judge John Kronstadt, issue an order compelling LMNO to hand over the footage. Kim’s decision said Discovery met every legal test for asserting its right to claim the footage.  Discovery had argued that the shelf life of the reality TV series material was an issue that demanded expedient action.

LMNO noted in a statement that Kim’s recommendation said that handing over the footage would not impact the question of whether Discovery still owes LMNO payment for the material. LMNO said it would file a response next week.

“LMNO has consistently maintained that it very much wants this show to be aired, and the entire dispute is over whether Discovery has to pay the agreed price. Therefore, LMNO is heartened that the Magistrate recognizes that the question of who possesses the materials is irrelevant to LMNO’s ultimate right to recover the amounts due,” the company said in a statement.


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