Kevin Adell isn’t taking The CW drama playing out between local television stations in Detroit lightly.
Adell, who owns WADL-TV, told Cord Cutters News that he plans to file a lawsuit against neighboring station WMYD-TV and its parent, E.W. Scripps, and is seeking $75 million in damages over what he alleges is “tortious interference” by taking on The CW affiliate slot in its place. He added he planned to name WMYD general manager Mike Murri to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit stems from a payment dispute between Adell and The CW parent Nexstar. WADL is in the process of being acquired by Mission Broadcasting, which Nexstar manages, for $75 million, and as a result, agreed to take on The CW without an affiliate deal. But with the process of approval stalled and awaiting a green light from the Federal Communications Commission, Adell sought a proper affiliate agreement to be compensated for carrying the network. When Nexstar didn’t respond to the request, he booted the network from WADL.
A week later, Scripps announced that its station, also known as TV20, would carry The CW. Shortly after, Adell’s lawyer filed a cease-and-desist letter to Scripps and WMYD, claiming it was breaking the law. He followed that up with a request for a legal hold to be put on all WMYD and CW documents in preparation for a lawsuit.
In an interview on Wednesday, Adell told Cord Cutters News that had WMYD wanted to be The CW affiliate, it could’ve gotten the deal seven months ago when Nexstar was shopping around for a new partner. The fact that WMYD signed a deal after WADL and Nexstar got entangled into the dispute meant there was interference, he argued.
“If I was (TV20), I would’ve never taken the deal,” Adell said, arguing that it undermined the value of his station while it’s in the process of being acquired.
He also called WMYD’s move to take on The CW was a temporary solution as it seeks a sports team down the line.
Nexstar, Scripps, and Murri declined to comment.
The CW network went live on WMYD on Monday, although it’s only carrying CW programming between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., and hasn’t changed its logos to prominently display The CW.
“The CW offers our audiences and advertisers a solid lineup of attractive programming, including popular entertainment and a growing amount of live sports programming,” Murri said earlier this month after announcing the deal.
Adell said he plans to file an action with a federal court before the end of the year.