Ashton Kutcher‘s production company Katalyst Media, Inc. has sued California’s Department of Motor Vehicles for breach of contract over a proposed reality show.
The show, “California DMV: Field Offices,” would have chronicled life working at the DMV.
Katalyst and the production company Soda and Pop, Inc. are now suing the DMV for not allowing the show to go forward, after initially agreeing to it in writing, according to the production companies.
DMV spokesperson Mike Marando declined to comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit laid out this chronology: In early 2010, the DMV and Katalyst entered into negotiations for the show. In June of that same year, the DMV committed to the collaboration in writing. Pre-production work was started shortly after. In May 2011 a formal written agreement was reached in which the DMV agreed to provide access to the facilities and employees for the reality show, according to documents filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Six weeks after signing the agreement, the DMV “changed course,” documents filed by Katalyst argue. Katalyst cites a letter from Marando saying that the DMV “would not be moving forward on such a project” because it was not in its “best interests.”
Katalyst argues that the company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in pre-production activities, such as casting, preparing budgets and negotiating contracts.
The company is asking the DMV to compensate it for money used on the project, at least $1,440,000, interest and legal costs.
This is not the first time the lives of state employees would have been documented for TV. National Geographic’s show “Wild Justice,” which followed game wardens, reached around 2 million viewers. The show first aired in 2010 and continues today.