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The Bachelor/Bachelorette series is a money-making machine for ABC. It's also been lucrative for the Reality Steve spoilers website, which publishes the outcome of each Bachelor/Bachelorette season based on insider intelligence long before the final rose is bestowed upon the lucky winner.
If you enjoy The Bachelor, Reality Steve spoilers, and litigation, you'll love The Bachelor lawsuit. NZK Productions and Alternative Television Inc, the production companies behind the hit series, are suing Stephen Carbone, aka Reality Steve, for tortious interference, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Carbone is not associated with the show, but the complaint alleges that Carbone compensated cast, crew, or employees of the series, who have confidentiality contracts, to spill secrets about what happened during filming. The plaintiffs, who sued Carbone earlier this month in a Los Angeles federal court, are seeking $75,000 in damages.
Yes, it's an obvious diversity jurisdiction trigger.
In the complaint, the plaintiffs refer to several email messages that Carbone allegedly sent to Bachelor contestants in which he indicated that he was aware of the contestants' confidentiality contracts, but claimed that the production company would never find out about contract breaches.
The Bachelor lawsuit is not the first reality television spoiler claim. Last year, Survivor producer Mark Burnett sued a Jim Early, a "Survivor Sucks" message board frequenter, after Early posted spoilers about two seasons of the show, according to the Daily Beast. The claims against Early were later dropped due to his cooperation in identifying his inside sources.
Despite Burnett's Early success, Carbone's attorney claims that a tortious inference lawsuit against Reality Steve is a waste of time and money, and an illegal attempt to limit Carbone's First Amendment rights.
What do you think? Do Bachelor producers really expect to recover for tortious interference? Are they simply trying to ferret out Carbone's sources? Or was the lawsuit carefully-timed ahead of The Bachelor's January 2 premier date to create buzz about the new season and put an end to the Reality Steve spoilers?