Telemundo Fires Back

Two weeks after Mexican authorities disrupted production of a Telemundo reality show in Mexico in a legal dispute between producers and Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca, the NBC Universal-owned network is firing back, asserting its rights to produce the show.

Telemundo’s suit, filed last Thursday in federal court in Miami, claims TV Azteca overstepped its legal bounds when a force of Mexico City police, accompanied by TV Azteca representatives, raided the set of reality show Quinceanera Sept. 22, and tried to close down the show. Production on three remaining episodes has yet to resume, although Telemundo plans to complete the program.

The two broadcast giants are at odds over Quinceanera’s producer, Nostromos, and its host Alan Tacher. TV Azteca claims it has exclusive rights to Tacher’s image and name through 2010 and a deal that prohibits Nostromos from producing shows similar to its own for other networks, assertions Telemundo disputes.

In its law suit, Telemundo claims TV Azteca, engaged in “wrongful use of force, made misrepresentations to courts in the United States and Mexico, and asserted meritless claims based on a license with alleged an ‘exclusivity’ clause that is unenforceable in Mexico.”

Telemundo says its motion is in response to a claim TV Azteca filed against it in August over contractual rights to Tacher. At the time, TV Azteca also tried to stop production on Quinceanera – about young girls competing for a lavish 15th birthday party – but withdrew the emergency request.