AP Photo/Matt Sayles
AP Photo/Matt Sayles
It's an unfortunate reality for Ashton Kutcher.
The Punk'd purveyor's production company, Katalyst Media, has filed a lawsuit against California's Department of Motor Vehicles for allegedly dropping out of a deal to develop an original half-hour reality series built around its personnel and patrons.
Life in the DMV ain't all it's cracked up to be, right Ashton?
Per the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court and a copy of which was obtained by E! News, the show, aptly dubbed DMV, aimed to "capture the variously humorous, emotional, dramatic, moving, humanizing and entertaining situations that arise on a daily basis at DMV's more than 170 offices across the State of California."
Kutcher and company claim the DMV's director, George Valverde, committed in a letter dated June 8, 2010 to working with Katalyst on the docu-series by, among other things, providing access to the various facilities to shoot four initial episodes in the summer and fall of 2011. Subsequent to that, DMV Deputy Director Mike Marando publicly announced the department's involvement in DMV.
Based on that agreement, the Two and a Half Men star's business partners (who are the people who brought you Punk'd, Beauty and the Geek and True Beauty among other reality offerings) went out and negotiated a pact with TruTV to air the program.
However according to Katalyst's complaint, six weeks after signing the deal, the folks at the DMV "changed course" and Marando fired off a five sentence letter to Katalyst producer Jason Goldberg that "simply declared that DMV no longer considered the series to be in its 'best interests' and would therefore 'not be moving forward on such a project'."
Despite California's Deputy Attorney General reaffirming in December that the project "does not directly serve the public interest or carry out DMV's mission," the plaintiffs says that's not a legitimate legal basis for the department to breach the contract.
Kutcher's company is asking for no less than $1.4 million in damages for pre-production work Katalyst already carried out.
Reps for Katalyst and the California DMV were unavailable for comment.
—Reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum