LAS VEGAS (CN) - The former manager of the cast of the reality TV show "Pawn Stars" claims in court that A&E Television Networks pressed the cast to fire him after he leaked news that the network had commissioned a spinoff show called "Cajun Pawn Stars."
Wayne F. Jefferies, operating as the Jefferies Co., claims in Clark County Court that he helped land the show for defendants Rick Harrison, Corey Harrison, Richard Benjamin Harrison and Austin "Chumlee" Russell, who work at and run the co-defendant Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Jefferies claims he was hired to consult, manage, advise, produce and promote the defendants' show about working in a pawn shop to cable TV networks. He says defendants had failed in their own efforts to get a show.
Jefferies claims he landed a development agreement for the defendants with Leftfield Pictures in 2008, to develop 13 episodes of "Pawn Stars" for defendants A&E Networks and the History Channel.
The first episode aired July 19, 2009, and the show is in its sixth season as the History Channel's highest-rated reality television series, the lawsuit states.
"The success of Pawn Stars directly resulted in a successful revitalization of The History Channel," the complaint states, "thereafter, placing network executives Mary Donahue and Nancy Dubuc into a class of saviors. Without the success of Pawn Stars, The History Channel would not be listed as earning the highest cable ratings in the reality television division."
Donahue and Dubuc also are named as defendants.
According to the complaint, in May 2009, Jefferies made an oral contract with the defendants to serve as their manager in exchange for:
- a $4,000 monthly fee
- 5 percent of eBay merchandise sales
- 5 percent of Rick Harrison's "License to Pawn" book
- 10 percent of the show's slot machine deals
- 5 percent of its coin deals
- 5 percent of its credit card deals
- 5 percent of its merchandise deals
- 5 percent of its in-store merchandise sales
- 10 to 15 percent of all paid personal expenses
- 10 percent of proceeds related to the production of the show
- and 5 percent of an energy drink deal.
Jefferies claims Dubue and Donahue became furious when, at the request of his clients, he told TMZ that the cast was blindsided by the network's decision to create a "Pawn Stars" spinoff called "Cajun Pawn Stars."
Jefferies claims the studio execs blamed him, and he was terminated on Jan. 12 this year.
He seeks damages for breach of oral contract and interference.
He is represented by Richard Schonfeld with Chesnoff & Schonfeld.