Because it won the injunction against the airing or promoting of the show on Lifetime, NBC U will have to post a bond of $20 million, said the court, though that is only a tenth of the $200 million Weinstein had asked for, which is what it says is the amount of its deal with Lifetime for the show.
According to a copy of the decision obtained by B&C, the court concluded that NBC U, which owns Bravo, and The Weinstein Co. had an enforceable contract, even though it had not been signed.
The court concluded that the TV business is pretty loose about signing contracts the parties still treat as binding. It said that it was convinced by testimony that "the television industry is one which seems to have a disregard for legal formality and is indeed reckless by failing to execute long form license agreements for the sake of the exigencies of time in getting television shows produced and broadcast."
The court said it was customary for parties in such agreements to "disregard formality" and thus for unexecuted agreements to be adhered to.
Having found that it was a contract, the court also ruled that it contained an enforceable right of first refusal for NBC for future cycles of the show, relying on an e-mail from NBC U Entertainment Co-Chairman Marc Graboff to the Weinstein company to that effect following a meeting with Weinstein at the Four Seasons in L.A.
That e-mail was, again, not made part of a written agreement, but a confirming e-mail from Weinstein closed the loop, said the court, and represented a valid agreement.
The court agreed that losing the show would cause significant harm to NBC U, in terms of viewership and money, but also as a platform to promote other shows.
The court's conclusion: "Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of success on the merits with respect to the claim that WWC is in breach of the spin-off provision of the 2003 licensing agreement.
THe court did say it was concerned that the injunction might keep the show off the air for an extended period of time--It was scheduled to debut on Lifetime in November--so said it would put the case on an expedited schedule.
The parties have been instructed to appear before the court Oct. 15 for a conference on the expedited scheduling.
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