Time Bandit captains and Deadliest Catch stars Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand have been sued for $3 million by the Discovery Channel, which claims they bailed on a spin-off show.
The brothers “were to film a one-time special called ‘Hillstranded’” but “[a]t the end of August, Discovery allegedly called the brothers to confirm a date, time and location for them to sit for interviews. The complaint says the only response was an e-mail from a lawyer for the brothers informing producers that they shouldn’t attempt any further contact with them. Discovery argues that the failure by Hillstrands to complete work has caused production on the show to remain uncompleted. The company says that the show would have earned significant ratings and that it has suffered substantial losses as a result,” The Hollywood Reporter reports, although it misspelled Johnathan’s name in its blog post.
The lawsuit says “The Hillstrand Defendants determined that they would reverse course, dishonor their promises, and refuse to render the services necessary to complete ‘Hillstranded.’”
Andy Hillstrand’s spokesperson told Radar, which confirmed the lawsuit, that he “has no comment at this time.”
Update: The Hillstrands’ attorney, Jeff Cohen, released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that didn’t address the allegations directly, but instead referred to it as extortion. He wrote, in part, that the lawsuit is “an astonishing and shameful instance of arrogance and greed run amok. While CEO David Zaslav reaps a $33.9 million bonanza in a single day in January 2010, his company attempts to bankrupt hardworking fishermen. Three million dollars is exponentially greater than any compensation ever paid to the ‘Deadliest Catch’ captains, and yet this is the figure Discovery is trying to extort from these men. … Isn’t there enough unemployment in America without forcing hard-working sea captains to declare bankruptcy, sell their boats and fire their crews?”