|June 14||Sheridan To Star in Scott Foley’s Directorial Debut|
Finally the kind of news that we wanted to hear!
Nicollette will be starring in the movie Ward’s Wife, who will be directed by Scandal and Felicity star Scott Foley.
Scott Foley and brother-in-law Patrick Wilson are teaming up to produce Ward’s Wife starring former Scrubs star Donald Faison. The Scandal and The Goodwin Games actor’s feature directorial debut will also be produced by Mob Doctor actor James Carpinello, Marcus Chait and Joe Hardesty for their Lost Rhino banner. As the title suggests, the dark comedy focuses on Ward (Faison) a man who has just had enough of being emotionally and verbally beaten down by his spouse and decides to kill her to free himself. Written by the Felicity alum, Ward’s Wife also stars Foley’s real life spouse Marika Dominczyk as Ward’s wife. Nicollette Sheridan will also be starring in Ward’s Wife. Foley, Insidious’ Wilson, Carpinello as well as Amy Acker and Greg Grunberg are also in the film. Ward’s Wife is scheduled to begin production in LA later this month.
At this rate, Nicollette Sheridan’s legal crusade against her former “Desperate Housewives” overlords is going to last longer than the series itself.
Ousted “Desperate Housewives” star Sheridan will go to trial against Touchstone Television on Dec. 2., an individual with knowledge of the proceeding told TheWrap on Monday.
Sheridan’s initial wrongful-termination suit against Disney and Touchstone ended in a mistrial last March, after a jury deadlocked 8 to 4 in Sheridan’s favor.
In her first suit, which was filed in 2010 and sought $20 million, Sheridan claimed that she was fired from “Desperate Housewives” after complaining that series creator Marc Cherry had struck her during a September 2008 rehearsal. Cherry maintained that he was merely giving Sheridan stage direction, and the defense maintained that the decision to kill off Edie Britt, Sheridan’s character, was made in May 2008, prior to the incident.
A battery charge against Cherry was dropped before the trial went to jury.
Sheridan lost an appeal bid on her wrongful termination claim in November. However, the actress still had the option to sue under California Labor Code 6310 (b), which protects employees from being terminated or threatened with termination if they make a complaint about workplace safety.
Sheridan’s attorney has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
|February 19||‘Knots Landing’ returns to UK TV on CBS Drama|
Re-runs of classic US soap Knots Landing will air on CBS Drama from April, it has been confirmed.
It will be the first time the classic TV show has aired in the UK for nearly 17 years. It joins CBS Drama’s current lineup of classic Americans soaps, which includes original series of Dallas, Melrose Place and Dynasty.
The Dallas spin-off was a big ratings hit in the ’80s for CBS in America. It originally aired in the UK on the BBC.
Chris Sharp, chief programming officer for CBS Chello Zone channels, said: “After the amazing success of Dallas on CBS Drama, our viewers have demanded that we show Knots Landing next, bringing it back to UK television after 17 years.
“We are very enthusiastic about its launch. The series has many energetic storylines and incredible captivating cliff-hanging episodes, which we’re sure will appeal to our ever-growing, loyal audience.”
Set in a fictional coastal suburb in LA, Knots Landing centered on the lives of Gary and Valene Ewing and three other families – the Fairgates, the Averys and the Wards.
The cast included Nicollette Sheridan, Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark, Donna Mills and Michele Lee, and featured appearances from Alec Baldwin, Halle Berry and Marcia Cross.
Knots Landing will air from Monday, April 1 at 11pm on CBS Drama.
The actress must now attempt to assert that her exit from the hit ABC show violated the state’s labor code.
The California Supreme Court has denied an appeal by actress Nicollette Sheridan of her case against ABC and Touchstone Television over her firing from Desperate Housewives.
The state’s highest court issued the brief ruling Friday. “The petition for review is denied,” the court’s chief justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote. “The request for an order requesting depublication of the opinion is denied.”
The move is the latest development in a two-and-a-half year legal saga stemming from a Sheridan’s exit from the hit ABC dramedy. The actress first sued producers ABC Studios, Touchstone and Housewives creator Marc Cherry for $20 million in April 2010, claiming she was fired in retaliation for complaining about being hit in the head by Cherry during an argument on the set. Cherry later was dismissed from the Los Angeles Superior Court suit, and a jury earlier this year failed to reach a verdict in a high-profile trial against ABC/Touchstone.
But before a second trial date could be set, a court of appeal ruled in August that trial judge Elizabeth Allen White should have issued a directed verdict for ABC/Touchstone because Sheridan wasn’t fired, her contract simply was not renewed between seasons 5 and 6 of the show. Instead, Sheridan should have been directed to refile her case under California’s Labor Code.
Sheridan asked for a rehearing of her claims and was denied. She then appealed to the state Supreme Court, which now has denied her.
The case likely will next be referred back to the court of appeal, which will direct the trial court to allow Sheridan to proceed with a claim that her exit from the show violates the state’s labor code. She could eventually get a new trial on these issues but ABC/Touchstone likely will try to get the case dismissed on procedural grounds.
ABC lawyer Adam Levin declined to comment on the latest ruling. We’ve reached out to Sheridan’s attorney Mark Baute for comment.
|September 13||Denied Rehearing Of ‘Housewives’ Court Loss|
In August, California’s second appellate district court ruled that Sheridan was not unlawfully terminated when she was killed off the hit ABC series at the end of season 5.
A California court of appeal has denied a request by actress Nicollette Sheridan for a rehearing after her key claims against Desperate Housewives studio ABC/Touchstone were tossed last month.
In August, California’s second appellate district court ruled that Sheridan was not unlawfully terminated when she was killed off the hit ABC series at the end of season 5. Sheridan’s wrongful-termination claim was disallowed but she was told she can refile her case to allege a violation of the state’s Labor Code.
Sheridan’s legal team then asked for a rehearing but in a short ruling dated Sept. 7, the appeals court has denied the request. The decision was expected.
Petition for rehearing is denied.”
|September 6||JEWTOPIA Opens 13th Annual Toyota Malibu Film Festival|
The 2012 Malibu Film Festival (MFF) proudly announces the Los Angeles Premiere of JEWTOPIA as its Opening Night film. The red carpet screening of JEWTOPIA will take place on September 22, 2012 at 7:30pm at Malibu Lumber Yard (3939 Cross Creek Road). The Opening Night gala reception will take place at Malibu Lumber Yard (3939 Cross Creek Road).
Inspired from the international smash hit play seen by over a million people, JEWTOPIA (2012, USA, 89 minutes) stars Ivan Sergei, Joel David Moore, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jon Lovitz, Rita Wilson, Tom Arnold, Peter Stormare, Camryn Manheim, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Wendie Malick, Nicollette Sheridan, Phil Rosenthal, Christine Lakin, Hayes MacArthur and Lin Shaye. The story is about Christian O’Connell (Sergei) and Adam Lipschitz (Moore) — two childhood friends who reunite as adults to help each other land the women of their dreams. Chris wants to marry Allison (Hewitt), a Jewish girl, so that he’ll never have to make another decision for as long as he lives. Adam is on the verge of getting married to Hannah (Sigler), a woman he is not content with. When Chris enlists Adam’s help in pretending to be Jewish so that Allison will date him, cultures collide and chaos ensues!
“It’s been an incredible journey from what started as a little show in Los Angeles. I believe the film not only captures the outrageous comedy that made the stage play so popular, it also tells the universal story of cultures clashing and families getting in the way of finding true love. I’m thrilled to be having our Los Angeles premiere in the city that I live in and love, Malibu,” stated director Bryan Fogel.
Following the screening, the Festival will host an Opening Night gala at Malibu Lumber Yard.
Tickets to the Opening Night screening and gala are $50 each and are available at http://www.malibufilmfestival.com starting September 5. Patrons can also purchase tickets to the Opening Night gala for $40 each. Guests must be at least 21 years old and cocktail attire is suggested.
About the Toyota Malibu Film Festival
Celebrated as a boutique film festival, the Toyota Malibu Film Festival hand-picks and presents the best current independent films from around the world. Committed to entertaining the public, the MFF focuses on showcasing an eclectic mix of non-studio independent films. The 13th annual Toyota Malibu International Film Festival runs September 22nd – September 23rd and will spotlight up to 40 entertaining films from around the world.
Cast and crew from JEWTOPIA are scheduled to appear at the red carpet and screening. Red carpet arrivals will take place from 6:30pm – 7:30pm. The screening will commence at 7:30pm.
|August 17||DH Lawsuit Gets Shot Down|
Nicollette Sheridan was not wrongfully fired from TV’s “Desperate Housewives,” an appeals court ruled Thursday, but the actress should be allowed to pursue claims that she was retaliated against for complaining that the show’s creator struck her.
A three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed with attorneys for ABC and Touchstone Television that Sheridan left the show when her contract was not renewed after the show’s fifth season, and that barred the actress from receiving a new trial of her wrongful termination lawsuit.
“Sheridan cannot pursue a cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy because, contrary to what she claims, she was not fired, discharged or terminated,” the court wrote in a 10-page ruling.
The court, however, ruled that Sheridan should be allowed to file an amended lawsuit claiming retaliation, although her damages would be limited to her salary losses.
Adam Levin, who represents ABC and Touchstone Television, praised the ruling. “The Court of Appeal correctly found that Ms. Sheridan was not terminated. Instead, her employment ended because Touchstone elected not to renew her contract after her character, Edie Britt, died on the show. Her last remaining claim for wrongful termination is gone, and while she may seek to add an OSHA claim, we believe we will prevail on that claim as well,” he said in a statement.
But Sheridan’s attorney Marc Baute is not giving up: “We will prosecute Touchstone to the fullest extent of the law under Labor Code Section 6310,” Baute said in a statement. Sheridan claimed in her initial lawsuit that her Housewives character Edie Britt was suddenly killed off in early 2009 and that she was fired from the show because of complaints the actress made over an alleged head-hitting incident on the series’ set with executive producer and series creator Marc Cherry on September 24, 2008.
|August 9||No Decision On Retrial Yet|
At a hearing today, a three-judge Court of Appeal panel consisting of Norman Epstein, Thomas Willhite Jr and Nora Manella heard arguments from Sheridan’s and ABC’s lawyers. At the end of the arguments the judges said that they will take the matter of a retrial and the submitted briefs from the lawyers under consideration. A decision could take up to three months or more, rendering the previously set Sept. 10 start date for a retrial void.
Since the end of the original trial, ABC has argued for a dismissal of the case, insisting that Sheridan was not wrongfully terminated from Desperate Housewives. “All of the evidence shows that Ms. Sheridan was not terminated but her employment came to a natural end when her contract was not renewed,” defense lawyer Adam Levin of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, representing ABC Studios and ABC Entertainment, said today.
Sheridan was in court, accompanied by one of her lawyers, Mark Baute of Baute Crochetiere & Wang. Judges Willhite and Manella repeatedly queried Baute about his client’s notion of termination. “Is it a termination when a contract is not renewed,” Manella asked. Baute responded by reiterating the alleged on-set head-hitting incident between Sheridan and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry as the basis for what he called “Sheridan’s retaliatory firing for complaining about the incident.”
|June 23||DH Trial: Settlement Talks Ordered|
Judge Elizabeth Allen White of Los Angeles Superior Court vacated the retrial date after admitting to being confused by wording in a writ issued by the court of appeals which put a temporary stay on the retrial.
The writ prevented Sheridan’s team from going ahead with the wrongful termination claim, but allowed for Sheridan’s team to amend its complaint and make claim under California Labor Code 6310 (b), which protects employees from being terminated or threatened with termination if they make a complaint about workplace safety.
“Frankly, I find the language puzzling,” the judge said.
The judge also ordered attorneys for both sides to return to settlement talks to Judge Helen Bendix on July 20.
During Friday’s hearing, Sheridan’s attorney, Mark Baute, continued to try to make the case for a wrongful termination claim.
“To keep this simple, Ms. Sheridan was fired before her contract was up,” Baute told the court.
“Mr. Baute has argued this nine times,” Adam Levin, attorney for ABC, countered, adding, “The plaintiff is frankly ordering nonsense. The plaintiff is asking the court to violate the court of appeal.”
Judge White concluded, “I am going to let the court of appeal sort it out … I will do whatever the court of appeal asks me to do.”
In March the case ended in mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict. A retrial had been set for Sept. 10, before Judge White vacated the date.
On May 31, an appeals court issued the temporary stay, affirming an appeal by ABC lawyers that argued that Sheridan did not have the right to sue for wrongful termination.
Baute told on Friday that he will focus on preserving the wrongful termination claim, despite the appeals court’s writ.
“The trial court recognizes, as did the Court of Appeal, that the Section 6310 (b) claim must go forward and the complaint amended to include that claim,” Baute told TheWrap after the hearing. “The trial court wishes to have the Court of Appeal resolve through the writ process whether the wrongful termination in violation of public policy will also go forward.”
Levin had no comment.
A court rules the actress’ key claim over her firing from ABC’s ‘Housewives’ likely should have been resolved in favor of Touchstone. Sheridan’s lawyer insists the Sept. retrial will go forward.
In a major setback for Nicollette Sheridan in her lawsuit against Desperate Housewives producer Touchstone Television, an appeals court has issued a ruling delaying indefinitely a planned September retrial and suggesting that the key claim in the case likely should have been resolved in favor of Touchstone, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
As you’ll recall, a Los Angeles jury deadlocked in March over whether the former Housewives actress was owed about $4 million for being improperly fired as retaliation for complaining after she was struck in the face by series creator Marc Cherry. (Cherry, originally a defendant, was dismissed from the case during trial.) The jury failed to reach a verdict, with eight of 12 jurors siding with Sheridan, so a retrial was set by Judge Elizabeth Allen White for Sept. 10.
Touchstone/ABC lawyers then appealed in an attempt to prevent a retrial, arguing that California law precludes wrongful termination lawsuits when an actress’ contract option is simply not exercised. That argument was made unsuccessfully several times during the litigation.
But now, in a surprising development, on Friday the California Court of Appeals issued an order agreeing with Touchstone and bumping the planned retrial off the calendar indefinitely. In a short “writ of mandate,” the appeals court overturned the trial judge’s denial of Touchstone’s motion for a directed verdict—essentially, that means the appeals court believes Touchstone should have won the major part of the case because a prior ruling in a case called Daly v. Exxon made clear that most employees whose options are not picked up can’t sue for wrongful termination.
The ruling is a big blow to Sheridan. The appeals court set an August 9 hearing date for the trial judge to show up and justify why the case should move forward to a retrial, but Superior Court judges rarely attempt to challenge appeals court rulings. The likely effect, therefore, will be that Judge White adheres to the appeals court mandate and issues some kind of directed verdict in favor of Touchstone on the wrongful termination claim.
Touchstone hasn’t completely won, however. The appeals court suggests Sheridan can reconfigure her case as a labor code violation under the OSHA law (Section 6310), which could lead to significant damages. Other appeals are possible. But a lawsuit that began as a $20 million bombshell when originally filed has now been brought to the brink of dismissal. Sheridan’s legal team led by Mark Baute will need to work some magic to bring it back.
“It is further ordered that the retrial currently set for Sept. 10 is hereby stayed pending further order of the court,” the ruling states.
Sheridan lawyer Baute tells THR that despite the appeals court’s indefinite stay, he is planning to fight to keep the retrial on track.
“The order reflects the court of appeals’ desire to have the September 10 trial focus on the Labor Code Section 6310 claim. The reference to amendment in the order is designed to ensure that happens and the September 10 trial date remains intact. This will all become clearer as the briefs are filed later this summer. It does not change the trial or the trial date, and the temporary stay is designed to clarify and resolve those issues before the September trial starts. It would be foolish for the media to believe that an order which expressly states that the Labor Code 6310 claim should be added means anything more than that, especially at this point. We will file our briefs and move forward accordingly.”
Lawyers for Touchstone have not responded to requests for comment.