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Friday July 7, 2006 11:20 am

Apprentice Involved In Another Lawsuit

Donld Trump Nicholas Christakis, who was rejected from The Apprentice, is suing for being kept off the show. Christakis claims that producer Mark Burnett is guilty of unfair business practices, defamation of character, slander, and libel, during the final casting of the show’s first season.

The lawsuit seeks $250 million in damages and names both Burnett and real estate mogul Donald Trump as defendants. This is not the first trip to court for Christakis. His family sued the Billerica, Massachusetts Board of Health in 2002 for shutting down their restaurant.

This is not the first trip to court for The Apprentice either.  Mark Bethea brought a lawsuit against NBC, Trump, and Burnett in 2004, alleging that The Apprentice was actually his idea and that Burnett stole it. Having registered the concept for the show (titled CEO) with the Writers Guild of America in 2000, Bethea claims he pitched the show to Burnett in 2001. The lawsuit was finally settled this May, but the terms were not disclosed.

James W. Schottel, Jr., a quadriplegic lawyer, sued the show in 2005 for discrimination. He stipulated that the audition rules that demand “excellent physical health” was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He later dropped the suit after the wording of the application was altered.

Mark Burnett Productions also filed a lawsuit related to The Apprentice in 2005, against Madison Road Entertainment. Burnett and his company alleged that they misrepresented themselves as being the sole company involved in Apprentice product placement deals. He claims they overcharged companies for participating in the show but only gave Burnett company a portion of the fees earned. Madison Road Entertainment countersued and accussed Burnett of simply trying to eliminate competition, citing the fact that no companies who bought sponsorship complained about being overcharged.

Meanwhile, Trump is set to open a new production company in Los Angeles. The company, which will be run by a former Apprentice contestant, Andy Litinsky, will likely introduce a TV version of the board game Monopoly as its first project.

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