Discovery Channel is suing two Deadliest Catch stars, Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand from the "Time Bandit" fishing boat, for $3 million for allegedly failing to live up to an agreement to complete a spin-off project.
A breach-of-contract lawsuit was filed last week in Maryland Circuit Court, according to The Hollywood Reporter. According to the lawsuit, the Hillstrands were scheduled to film a one-time special called Hillstranded.
The duo was coming off five seasons of the popular Deadliest Catch show and the special was set to document the team's various adventures in Alaska, unrelated to their jobs as crab fisherman. Two weeks of principal photography was shot in June, but more work remained on the project. Discovery claims the show would have earned significant ratings and that it has suffered substantial losses as a result.
"The Hillstrand Defendants determined that they would reverse course, dishonor their promises, and refuse to render the services necessary to complete 'Hillstranded,'" reads the complaint.
The Hillstrands' lawyer compared the lawsuit to "extortion," claiming it might force his clients to sell their boats and fire their crews. He also complained about the network's well-paid top executive.
"The recent actions of Discovery Communications are an astonishing and shameful instance of arrogance and greed run amok," attorney Jeff Cohen said in a statement. "While CEO David Zaslav reaps a $33.9 million bonanza in a single day in January 2010, his company attempts to bankrupt hardworking fishermen. Three million dollars is exponentially greater than any compensation ever paid to the 'Deadliest Catch' captains, and yet this is the figure Discovery is trying to extort from these men."
"Isn't there enough unemployment in America without forcing hard-working sea captains to declare bankruptcy, sell their boats and fire their crews?," he asked.
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