In a battle that may prove to be more dramatic than anything TV fans see on soap operas, Sony Pictures Television is fighting back against a lawsuit that alleges the company has purposefully been trying to destroy Days of our Lives.
As Soap Central first reported in February, Corday Productions -- which is behind the NBC soap opera -- has brought a $20M breach of contract and fraud complaint against Sony that claims the company has been plotting to put DAYS into the grave by purposefully dropping its international distribution duties.
"While the domestic ratings for Days of our Lives have remained largely constant, Sony's distribution receipts have decreased by over 50%," the complaint stated. "This dramatic decline is directly attributable to a decision at the highest levels of Sony management to eliminate any competition to its own wholly-owned Series The Young and the Restless, also distributed by Sony.... In the annals of Hollywood television, it is difficult to identify a distributor more guilty of blatant conflict of interest, deceit, perfidy, and abuse of market power."
Sony decided to slap back this week, stating that DAYS is responsible for earning less profits because of declining ratings in the soap opera industry as a whole.
"Daytime soap operas face a difficult and evolving television market environment," wrote the entertainment company's lawyers in a demurrer aimed at dismissing many of Corday's causes of action, shared by The Hollywood Reporter. "There were once eighteen different first-run network series; now, there are four. And since 2011, plaintiff Corday's series, Days of Our Lives, has finished last in the Nielsen ratings. Given the changes and challenges of the domestic and international markets, as well as [DAYS'] ratings, it is not surprising that [DAYS'] profitability has declined in recent years."
In addition to claiming that Sony is hindering international distribution as a way to boost Y&R, Corday alleges that the company isn't charging NBC enough in licensing fees and is starving the soap opera of enough money to continue high-quality production.
Writes Corday's attorney Pierce O'Donnell: "This sinister plot is working: while Sony claims that Corday has incurred $12 million in unrecouped production deficits, Sony reports no revenues from supplemental markets, and Sony's foreign revenue stream for the Series -- once garnering tens of millions of dollars per year -- is in a death spiral."
Sony's legal team, led by Gibson Dunn attorney Scott Edelman, says Corday's conspiracy story is "pure fiction" and notes that Days of Our Lives and The Young and The Restless have successfully coexisted for 46 years.
For more on the legal battle between Corday Productions and Sony Pictures Television -- including how a legal dispute over the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit may be involved -- check out THRs full story about DAYS' court case here.
What do you think about the recent developments in the Corday v. Sony case? How do you feel about Sony's counter arguments to the claim that it is trying to destroy DAYS? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.