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 Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 11:00 GMT
Minnelli sues over cancelled TV show
Liza Minnelli and husband David Gest
The couple had hoped to appear on "reality TV"
Cabaret star Liza Minnelli and her husband David Gest have sued cable channel VH1 and allied companies for $23m (14m) after their bosses cancelled the couple's reality TV show.

In court papers filed in New York, they accuse the companies of breach of contract. VH1, sister company MTV and their parent Viacom, are also being sued for defamation and slander.

The fly-on-the-wall programme for VH1 was to follow the example of hit series The Osbournes and watch Minnelli and Gest in their personal and professional lives.

But after 60 hours of filming, plans for the show were dropped, allegedly because the programme-makers found Gest "impossible to work with".

Ozzy Osbourne
A similar series starring Ozzy Osbourne and family has been a big hit

Court papers named the defendants in the case as VH1 and MTV, Viacom and Networks Remote Productions Inc, the company contracted to produce and film the show.

Minnelli and Gest said they were contracted in July to shoot 10 one-hour episodes of the series for $1.25m (781,000).

But in October, VH1 "abruptly and unlawfully terminated the contract," court papers for the couple allege.

The couple's papers also allege that an unnamed Viacom employee defamed Gest in an interview with the New York Post by calling him a "control freak" and "impossible to work with".

Ratings success

Newspaper reports earlier this year in the US alleged that Gest cancelled agreed filming slots and had a bodyguard standing outside their home to keep the camera crew out.

Minnelli - a celebrated stage and screen entertainer and the daughter of the late actress and singer Judy Garland - married producer Gest in February.

It followed her return to form after many months of ill health.

Their VH1 series was designed to capitalise on the popularity of so-called "reality TV".

In particular, it would have sought to achieve the same success of the series following the life of tamed hell-raising rock star Ozzy Osbourne and his family.

The programme, which chronicles the unconventional life of the musician, his wife Sharon and two of their teenage children, has been a huge hit in the US and the UK.

See also:

26 Jul 02 | Entertainment
15 Mar 02 | Entertainment
15 Mar 02 | Entertainment
10 May 02 | Newsmakers
30 Oct 02 | Entertainment
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