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WoT "pilot" aired

#1 User is offline   Terez 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 02:12 AM

I imagine many of you have heard about this, but Sunday night/Monday morning (midnight thirty my time), there was a "pilot" for a WoT film/series aired in an infomercial spot on FXX. This is what is called an "ashcan" in the industry, a not-serious production for the purpose of maintaining the rights. In this case, it was probably the bare minimum required by the contract, and there is a chance it can be contested.

Here is the video:

http://youtu.be/cvNYIEN1vIg

No one, including Harriet and Brandon, had any clue this was coming. A fan noticed it on their TV guide and posted about it on Reddit:

http://www.reddit.co..._time_tv_pilot/

Then Jason Denzel posted about it on Dragonmount:

http://www.dragonmou...show-pilot-r849

So thousands of people were alerted in the nick of time, and we tuned in to watch it that night, or DVR it.

This created such an uproar in the WoT fandom that we were trending on Facebook for a few hours at some point (I forget when), and the WoT Twitter world came alive again briefly.

Various posts have been made about it since. First, from Wert:

http://thewertzone.b...lot-out-of.html

And from io9:

http://io9.com/the-r...aire-1684773094

The Verge:

http://www.theverge....-time-pilot-fxx

Wired:

http://www.wired.com...-time-tv-pilot/

[Edit: And now Vox!

http://www.vox.com/2...-time-pilot-fxx ]

There are several other commentaries out there in the tech/sff media and within the fandom, but those are the highlights. Harriet's response is posted in full at a few of those links, but here it is for your convenience:

Harriet McDougal said:

This morning brought startling news. A "pilot" for a Wheel of Time series, the "pilot" being called Winter Dragon, had appeared at 1:30 in the morning, East Coast time, on Fxx TV, a channel somewhere in the 700s (founded to concentrate on comedy, according to the Washington Post).

It was made without my knowledge or cooperation. I never saw the script. No one associated with Bandersnatch Group, the successor-in-interest to James O. Rigney, was aware of this.

Bandersnatch has an existing contract with Universal Pictures that grants television rights to them until this Wednesday, February 11 – at which point these rights revert to Bandersnatch.

I see no mention of Universal in the "pilot". Nor, I repeat, was Bandersnatch, or Robert Jordan's estate, informed of this in any way.

I am dumbfounded by this occurrence, and am taking steps to prevent its reoccurrence.

Harriet P McDougal
President and CEO
Bandersnatch Group, Inc.
February 9, 2015


Here are Harriet's thoughts on Red Eagle from JordanCon 2012:

Quote

QUESTION
Is there any plan for a movie series—anything along that line—and if so, what is the progress on that, if any?
HARRIET MCDOUGAL
The year after my husband's death, I signed a big, fat contract with Universal giving them the movie rights. They have the rights by contract to make a miniseries or movies of the Wheel of Time books, and they have seven years to get the first movie into theaters. And I've forgotten what the timing is on the miniseries. Somebody here in the room has seen a first draft of a movie script and said it is..."execrable" would perhaps be the correct word. Just no—no, no, no, no. I have not seen this, but the clock is ticking. I would...does anybody remember the Ralph Bakshi movie of Lord of the Rings?

AUDIENCE
Yeah...

HARRIET MCDOUGAL
Yeah, was that the pits or what? Just awful. And it didn't kill the Lord of the Rings, because now there's the wonderful Jackson. It may be that this will happen with the Wheel of Time. I don't control it; I do have a little....if they sat down to make a triple-X movie out of The Eye of the World, I think I would be able to stop them legally. I don't have...I can't say "You have just really messed up this character." They would say, "Thank you, we've consulted you, now go away." It's pretty much how it works. The chances are that it may be shelved and never made at all under this contract; I get the rights back if they do that, after seven years...which is so peculiarly Biblical. (laughter) I think about the Pharaohs and the kine, and the lean kine and the fat kine, every time I say that. You know, why do they do that? They're obsessed with [permits?] maybe.

So, chances are it will never be made—it will not be made under this contract. The next likely chance is that something awful will be made, and the third possibility is that they'll do it right and something wonderful will happen. I think it's about 50-50 that they're gonna shelve it. It's been very slow so far, and I don't think they'll make the deadline. But I hope they're all sitting out there going very broody about the Game of Thrones. They should be, little dollar signs flicking through their eyeballs like saa. (laughter) Because this would be bigger, if they did it right. It would be wonderful if they did it right, but there's no way to even expect that. The wisdom among writers and publishers is, "Oh, you're offered money for a movie? Take the money and run, and never, never go to see what they do with it." But of course I will. (laughter)


And finally, RJ's thoughts on Red Eagle from his very last blog post:

RJ said:

I hear things now and then floating out in the air. For instance, I hear that word was floating about ComicsCon in San Diego that I am displeased with Red Eagle. Too true. Too very true. In a few more months that last contract they have with anyone on God's green earth that so much as mentions my name will come to an end and we can see what happens after that. You see, among other things they forgot an old dictum of LBJ back when he was just a Congressman from Texas, when he famously, or infamously, said "Don't spit in the soup. boys. We all have to eat." Worse, Red Eagle though they could tell me they spit in the soup, or pee in it, if they wanted to and there wasn't anything I could do to stop them. You can't apologize your way out of that with me, not that they tried. There isn't enough money in the world to buy your way out of it with me. Not that they tried that either. So they get no further help from me. Once they are completely out of the picture, we'll see what happens.

This post has been edited by Terez: 11 February 2015 - 02:19 AM

The President (2012) said:

Please proceed, Governor.

Chris Christie (2016) said:

There it is.

Elizabeth Warren (2020) said:

And no, Iím not talking about Donald Trump. Iím talking about Mayor Bloomberg.
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#2 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 03:07 AM

So are there going to be legal repercussions or do the rights stay with Red Eagle?
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#3 User is offline   20 Days of Sheep 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 03:18 AM

From what I understand since it made the air they keep it which was the point for them. Hopefully lawyers can take it away from them but the contract seems fulfilled now.
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#4 User is offline   Terez 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 03:22 AM

The best summary of the legal issues is probably in the Vox article. But we just don't know because the contract is not public. Both sides seem to think they have a legal leg to stand on.

The President (2012) said:

Please proceed, Governor.

Chris Christie (2016) said:

There it is.

Elizabeth Warren (2020) said:

And no, Iím not talking about Donald Trump. Iím talking about Mayor Bloomberg.
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Posted 11 February 2015 - 03:29 AM

Which is why people tend to go to court. Rarely are you going to find someone who has representation that is willing to spend the resources and time at court if they don't have a decent argument. That's what the whole representation thing is for.
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#6 User is offline   Dolmen 2.0 

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    Waiting till jean gets here.

Posted 11 February 2015 - 04:19 AM

All this drama is great for the books though, I admit a sudden desire to read them.
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#7 User is offline   Nicodimas 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 05:15 AM

This was horrible.

Like wow.
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#8 User is offline   heavymetaltroll 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 05:23 AM

At least there is still some hope coming out of Red Eagle about a big budget realization, though I doubt they'll deliver. Fingers crossed they do it and do it right because I'd love to see it, though I still feel the only way to really do WOT justice would be an animated series.
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#9 User is offline   Traveller 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 08:15 AM

Do we really need a second thread on this?
So that's the story. And what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge.
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#10 User is offline   Tsundoku 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 08:26 AM

Billy Zane wasn't too bad actually, but overall you can easily tell that was just done as a placeholder.

This post has been edited by Sombra: 11 February 2015 - 08:28 AM

"Fortune favors the bold, though statistics favor the cautious." - Indomitable Courteous (Icy) Fist, The Palace Job - Patrick Weekes

"Well well well ... if it ain't The Invisible C**t." - Billy Butcher, The Boys

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#11 User is offline   Terez 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 08:54 AM

View PostTraveller, on 11 February 2015 - 08:15 AM, said:

Do we really need a second thread on this?

Where is the other one?

The President (2012) said:

Please proceed, Governor.

Chris Christie (2016) said:

There it is.

Elizabeth Warren (2020) said:

And no, Iím not talking about Donald Trump. Iím talking about Mayor Bloomberg.
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#12 User is offline   Tsundoku 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 10:22 AM

View PostTerez, on 11 February 2015 - 08:54 AM, said:

View PostTraveller, on 11 February 2015 - 08:15 AM, said:

Do we really need a second thread on this?

Where is the other one?


http://forum.malazan...atch-right-now/
"Fortune favors the bold, though statistics favor the cautious." - Indomitable Courteous (Icy) Fist, The Palace Job - Patrick Weekes

"Well well well ... if it ain't The Invisible C**t." - Billy Butcher, The Boys

"I have strong views about not tempting providence and, as a wise man once said, the difference between luck and a wheelbarrow is, luck doesnít work if you push it." - Colonel Orhan, Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City - KJ Parker
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#13 User is offline   Terez 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 10:25 AM

Ah, strange place to put it. We don't discuss the GoT show there either; it's in the OL GRRM subforum.

The President (2012) said:

Please proceed, Governor.

Chris Christie (2016) said:

There it is.

Elizabeth Warren (2020) said:

And no, Iím not talking about Donald Trump. Iím talking about Mayor Bloomberg.
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#14 User is offline   Traveller 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 10:57 AM

Sorry, they just appeared right next to each other on the new content.. I forget that not everyone uses that.
So that's the story. And what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge.
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#15 User is offline   Terez 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 11:42 AM

No need to apologize; I just thought I had done my due diligence. That's one place I didn't think to look. :D

The President (2012) said:

Please proceed, Governor.

Chris Christie (2016) said:

There it is.

Elizabeth Warren (2020) said:

And no, Iím not talking about Donald Trump. Iím talking about Mayor Bloomberg.
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#16 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 09:28 PM

Quote

From what I understand since it made the air they keep it which was the point for them. Hopefully lawyers can take it away from them but the contract seems fulfilled now.


Not quite. They paid FXX to show it as an informercial. That means that as a TV show/movie, it was not commissioned by anyone, Red Eagle threw it together themselves and paid FXX to put it on. FXX very quickly distanced themselves from Red Eagle about it. It is highly questionable if this can then be argued to be fulfilling the terms of the contract (to get a TV show commissioned and properly aired).
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#17 User is offline   Terez 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 10:58 PM

It's difficult to say either way without being privy to the terms of the contract.

View PostSombra, on 11 February 2015 - 08:26 AM, said:

Billy Zane wasn't too bad actually, but overall you can easily tell that was just done as a placeholder.


I thought he was terrible. No emotion whatsoever. I can't tell you how many exclamation points got lost in that laundry list recitation.

This post has been edited by Terez: 11 February 2015 - 11:35 PM

The President (2012) said:

Please proceed, Governor.

Chris Christie (2016) said:

There it is.

Elizabeth Warren (2020) said:

And no, Iím not talking about Donald Trump. Iím talking about Mayor Bloomberg.
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Posted 12 February 2015 - 07:36 PM

BILLY ZANE!!!!!!!
THIS IS YOUR REMINDER THAT THERE IS A
'VIEW NEW CONTENT' BUTTON THAT
ALLOWS YOU TO VIEW NEW CONTENT
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Posted 12 February 2015 - 09:31 PM

That sucked so bad
HiddenOne. You son of a bitch. You slimy, skulking, low-posting scumbag. You knew it would come to this. Roundabout, maybe. Tortuous, certainly. But here we are, you and me again. I started the train on you so many many hours ago, and now I'm going to finish it. Die HO. Die. This is for last time, and this is for this game too. This is for all the people who died to your backstabbing, treacherous, "I sure don't know what's going on around here" filthy lying, deceitful ways. You son of a bitch. Whatever happens, this is justice. For me, this is justice. Vote HiddenOne Finally, I am at peace.
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#20 User is offline   Terez 

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 08:44 AM

Now Red Eagle is suing Harriet for defamation:

http://www.reddit.co...natch_behind_a/

The article requires registration with a "professional" email, which I don't have, but there is a summary posted in the Reddit comments [Edit: the whole article was posted below that]:

Quote

Law360, San Diego (February 12, 2015, 8:08 PM ET) -- The producers of a TV adaptation of Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” fantasy book series accused the author’s widow of slander on Thursday in California federal court, alleging she publicly ridiculed the pilot that aired days before the producers’ rights were set to expire.


Red Eagle Entertainment LLC’s 30-minute pilot for the series aired on FXX in the early hours of Feb. 9, at 1:30 a.m. EST, and was quickly derided by fans and writers for its low-budget special effects, slow pacing and stilted acting. Red Eagle’s rights to the series would have expired on Feb. 11 if it hadn’t aired anything.

Jordan’s widow Harriet McDougal released a statement Monday distancing herself from the pilot. She claimed that her company Bandersnatch Group Inc., which is Jordan’s successor in interest, had a deal with Universal Pictures to produce the show, not Red Eagle.

“I see no mention of Universal in the ‘pilot,’” she wrote. “Nor, I repeat, was Bandersnatch, or Robert Jordan's estate, informed of this in any way. I am dumbfounded by this occurrence, and am taking steps to prevent its reoccurrence.”

Red Eagle alleges that it granted some rights to Universal but they reverted back to Red Eagle last year. McDougal knew Universal was no longer involved because she and her lawyers were told about the rights change, according to the suit. Her statement was meant to disparage the show and cast doubt on Red Eagle’s legal ability to produce the pilot, the company alleged.

“Instead of confirming the rights for which she has been so richly compensated for, McDougal sought to harm the business prospects of [Red Eagle] by making statements she knew to be false,” Red Eagle said.

Red Eagle’s dealing with Jordan dates back to 2004, when a subsidiary paid Jordan $35,000 for a one-year option to buy movie and TV rights for the first of 15 books in the “Wheel of Time” series. The company eventually paid another $595,000 to extend the option and buy the rights, which would revert back to Bandersnatch if nothing came of the deal, according to the complaint.

The subsidiary, Manetheren LLC, signed a separate deal with Universal in 2009, giving it an interest in making films or a TV show based on the book, but the rights came back to Manetheren in February 2014 because Universal hadn’t started shooting by then, the complaint said.

McDougal was invited last year to a series of meetings between Manetheren, Sony Pictures Television and Radar Pictures LLC about a possible TV series and offered to serve as a consultant, according to the suit. Red Eagle claims McDougal never raised any concerns about Manetheren’s rights to go ahead with the show.

Manetheren further claims McDougal breached a 2008 deal over comic book rights, with both sides agreeing not to make any negative or contentious public statements about each other. And contrary to McDougal’s released statement, Manetheren was not required to get her approval before releasing the show, the producers said.
Representatives for the parties did not immediately respond Thursday to requests for comment.

Red Eagle is represented by Jonathan D. Freund and Stephen P. Crump of Freund & Brackey LLP.
Counsel information for the defendants was not immediately available.

The case is Red Eagle Entertainment LLC et al. v. Bandersnatch Group Inc. et al., case number 2:15-cv-01038, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
--Editing by Emily Kokoll.

This post has been edited by Terez: 13 February 2015 - 08:53 AM

The President (2012) said:

Please proceed, Governor.

Chris Christie (2016) said:

There it is.

Elizabeth Warren (2020) said:

And no, Iím not talking about Donald Trump. Iím talking about Mayor Bloomberg.
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