Friday, 11 March 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #692: Clauses With Claws?

Welcome to show folks...

Sometimes I hate having to be topical, because sometimes being topical means you have to discuss something, or someone, coverage you don't want to talk about. My personal bugbear is Charlie Sheen, his every antic shows a complete failure of the imagination, the now thoroughly cliched banality of drug addiction without the discretion to keep his meltdown private. Even his "goddesses" all seem to look alike. Dude, if you're going to have a harem like a decadent potentate of some exotic kingdom that exists solely in your head, go for some variety, an international sampler if you will.

But thankfully I won't be talking about his private life. I leave that to the tabloids.

What I will talk about is the $100 million lawsuit he's filed against his former employers, that may, or may not be in arbitration. Personally, I don't see this ending well for Sheen, in fact, I think the only people in Sheen's camp that will be getting anything out of this fiasco will be his lawyers.


It all boils down to scale.

Studios and TV networks are large
scale operations. They have large teams of lawyers being paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars an hour. They do nothing but compose contracts and fight over those contracts. They live and breath contracts.

They have people study and analyze said contracts making sure that not only is every "i" dotted and every "t" is crossed, and they use literally decades of contract law experience to make sure that they always have a way out.

That's the important part.

You see studios know that actors can veer from being incredibly entertaining to downright frustrating, and occasionally, as in the case with Mr. Sheen, bat-shit crazy without any notice. That means that they have to be prepared for such events, and that's why contracts for TV stars have what I call "clauses with claws."

In the old days the common tactic was to cite the "morality clause" to get rid of a star when he or she was mired in scandal. They aren't as prevalent these days, since Hollywood seems to prefer scandal to morality so they tend to only be enforced when the star in question gets busted for a felony like murder. And while Sheen hasn't been busted for murder, yet, there are, no doubt, other clauses the network and producers can cite to bury his lawsuit in counter-litigation until Sheen's either dead, or living under an overpass pushing a shopping cart full of rain-soaked porn vintage magazines.

There is no way they would have signed on with someone with Sheen's colorful past without such clauses. To do so would involve an almost NBC network level of stupidity, and neither CBS and Warner TV are that dumb. Sheen might think that being able to show up at the studio somehow gets him around these clauses, but that's just stupidity on his part, and if his lawyers are truly looking out for his interests, they'd be looking for some sort of quick settlement instead of a prolonged battle, especially when we return to the topic of scale.

Warner Bros. TV and the CBS network are individually immensely bigger than Sheen and his legal team, and combined basically make him a bug compared to an elephant. They can easily afford to drag this out. They can drop millions on lawyers over a period of years, because they have billions in their war chests. Sheen merely has millions, and several ex-wives, children, lawyers, porn stars, prostitutes, and drug dealers to support. He may be rich, but he's no where near rich enough to hang on for the sort of fight his opponents are going to give him. He will be bankrupted so far his children's grandchildren's genetically engineered clone-spawn will still be in debt.

And I think they're going to give a real whopper of a fight because they have to.

Sheen's behavior has cost them money, time, and a hell of a lot of public embarrassment. They are bound by what few principles they have to make an example out of him to serve as a warning to others whose behavior could negatively affect them and their business interests.

Unless there's some face saving settlement, and fast, this will get ugly, and Sheen will end up under the bus.

1 comment:

  1. Demi Lovato has a meltdown due to emotional issues amplified with a heavy workload and she seeks treatment. She is 18 year old, Chuck is in his 40's and his response it to become an attention craving spoiled Ritalin overdosing teen.

    Least Disney is giving Lovato some time to rest before she returns to her show. Because of one reason TRUST. Demi for 3 years handled all those pressures with utmost professionalism until things finally snapped.