People/Biz

ITV lets go, sues “Duck Dynasty” producers

The producing team behind Duck Dynasty has been let go. In an announcement today (Dec. 9), ITV said the Board of Gurney Productions has terminated both Scott and Deirdre Gurney, and has ...
December 9, 2016

The producing team behind Duck Dynasty has been let go.

In an announcement today (Dec. 9), ITV said the Board of Gurney Productions has terminated both Scott and Deirdre Gurney, and has also filed a claim against the duo in the California Superior Court “on the grounds of self-dealing, fraudulent concealment and breach of contract,” according to a Gurney Productions spokesperson in an emailed statement.

Earlier this week, the producers had been put on temporary leave, with 5×5 Media co-CEO Craig Armstrong taking over as interim CEO.

“As announced on Monday, Emmy-winning producer Craig Armstrong has been appointed interim CEO of Gurney Productions and has the full ground support of ITV America’s senior team,” the spokesperson added. “Under his leadership, all Gurney Productions shows and development will continue to be produced by the company’s strong team of producers. Armstrong, along with his producing partner Rick Ringbakk, is co-founder and co-CEO of 5×5 Media, which continues to operate as before.

“It’s very much business as usual and our brilliant production team remains focused on making and delivering great shows.”

In an official filing of the case, the plaintiffs (ITV Gurney Holding Inc. and Gurney Productions) state that they have “overwhelming proof that the Gurneys breached their legal and contractual obligations” and have “inflicted severe harm on ITV and the company.”

Among the allegations are that, despite agreements to not compete for business with the company, the Gurneys secretly formed a separate company – Snake River Productions – after having sold over majority stake in Gurney Productions to ITV. The report claims that the producers were not only channeling the company’s corporate business through Snake River, but they were also defrauding the company by “securing a substantially higher payout for themselves and their closely held company Little Win, when ITV bought them out.”

Upon learning about these irregularities, the ITV board launched a more thorough investigation, which they allege, showed even more irregularities and breaches of contract. These, their filing states, include “poaching of company employees” for Snake River, unauthorized distribution of funds to Scott Gurney and an improper use of company money for personal use.

The Gurneys sold a 61.5% membership interest in Little Win to ITV in December 2012. The new board included the Gurneys, as well as David McGraynor, Andrew Garard and Brent Montgomery.

Earlier this year, A&E announced that Duck Dynasty would come to an end after 11 seasons on the network.

realscreen has reached out to the Gurneys for comment. No response has been provided as yet.

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at mkashty@brunico.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty

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