The party’s over — before it had really even begun.
The lawsuit that millions of Dean Martin fans the world over had hoped would at last bring about their long-cherished desire to see complete episodes of The Dean Martin Show made available once again, has been dismissed with the consent of all of the parties to the case.
The Golddiggers Super Site, which broke the news of the suit last September, is the first to report that an out-of-court settlement has been reached between plaintiff NBC Universal, Inc. and defendants Guthy-Renker Corp., Greg Garrison Productions, Inc., Ronald L Blanc, Black Horse Television Enterprises, LLC, and Barrump-Bump Publishing Co.
As a result of the parties to the suit having — according to the settlement order —”resolved this matter to their mutual satisfaction”, the case was officially dismissed with prejudice on January 2, 2008 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles), where the suit had been in the Discovery phase.
The “with prejudice” portion of the order means that all of the parties involved in the case are hereafter barred from bringing any further actions against one another on the same claim. In other words, the outcome is final — there will be no appeals or further legal initiatives over the issues raised by this lawsuit.
PEACE, BUT AT WHAT PRICE?: (above and below) The actual settlement order putting an end to NBC Universal’s legal claims against Greg Garrison Productions, Guthy-Renker et al over the rights to the use of selected footage from The Dean Martin Show. Now comes the crucial question: Have the parties to this accord just signed the death warrant to any fresh release of this prized series, or instead (hopefully) just given it a new lease on life?
Additional claims made by Greg Garrison Productions against Howard West and Shapiro-West Productions were also dismissed. We don’t know the exact nature of Shapiro-West’s involvement in the suit, but we do know that the firm is a talent agency and program packager that, among other credits, represents Jerry Seinfeld and is listed as one of the producers of Seinfeld’s enormously successful NBC TV series.
Following the January 2nd dismissal notice, Guthy-Renker wasted no time in putting its 29-volume Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show collection back on the market. The website selling the series is once again taking orders for the product, and infomercials hawking the set, which were pulled off the air in the wake of the lawsuit, have reportedly been spotted running on television once again.
Meanwhile, the two separate lawsuits covered on these pages — one filed September 17, 2007 by Van Alexander, Lee Hale, Geoffrey Clarkson, and James Hill against Guthy-Renker, Greg Garrison Productions et al, and another brought April 25, 2007 by the American Federation of Musicians against Greg Garrison Productions — will proceed.
As is par for the course in out-of-court settlements like the one stemming from NBC U’s suit against Guthy-Renker, Garrison Productions et al, terms of the resolution of the dispute between the various litigants were not disclosed.
Naturally, we are thereby left to wonder, among other things:
• Did the settlement henceforth grant to Guthy-Renker and Greg Garrison Productions the exclusive right to use material from The Dean Martin Show?
• NBC U reportedly launched the suit because it had plans of its own to repackage the material. Does the settlement effectively mean that the media giant has abandoned any such plans to use the material in the future, including repurposing it for home video distribution and/or telecasts on either broadcast or cable television?
• Does the settlement in any way allow Guthy-Renker and Greg Garrison Productions to go forward with the production of additional anthologies of segments excerpted from The Dean Martin Show, or even the packaging and sale of complete episodes from that series?
These, we believe, would be among the questions that most readily come to mind for Dean Martin fans as a result of the settlement.
And so we’d like to cordially invite any of the parties that have been involved in this case to help shed some light on these matters by providing any information that they possibly can for the millions of dedicated fans of Dean Martin and The Dean Martin Show who have been waiting anxiously for months, if not years, to learn about future plans, if any, for this beloved television classic.
We would also encourage reporters for the entertainment trade and consumer media, once they have picked up this story from our lead — and even all fans of Dean Martin, The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters — to pose these questions to the entities that could provide some answers.
Needless to say, with respect to any news that we learn on this front, you’ll hear it here first.