By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
We told you months ago that Lionsgate was slapped with a lawsuit because a former intern of “The Wendy Williams Show” feels they were given a crappy internship that did nothing to enhance their professional skills. Later on more interns came forward with the same complaint, and it was reported that the interns could get millions in settlement money.
Well it looks like that’s exactly what’s happening.
Six months ago, Lionsgate wanted the potential class action filed by a former intern on The Wendy Williams Show tossed out of court. Now it wants to go large and pay to make the whole thing go away. To that end, the studio’s attorneys are filing paperwork today in New York federal court stating that they have reached a settlement in the case with Anthony Tart’s lawyers at Virginia & Ambinder, I’ve learned. While there is no dollar figure attached to the proposed agreement, sources tell me is it in the $1 million ballpark.
And the ballpark itself has gotten a bit bigger: As part of the resolution to Tart’s October 1, 2014 complaint seeking a jury trial, Lionsgate and its subsidiary, Wendy Williams Show producers Debmar-Mercury, are taking the rare Hollywood step of expanding the class action as they hope to have it shut down. Today’s settlement deal won’t just address other former TWWS interns who say they were made to work like full-time employees on the syndicated daytime talker, in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act plus New York’s Minimum Wage Law and Wage Theft Law. Nope, to truly settle this and to seek to head off further similar lawsuits, Lionsgate is now including all former interns of the studio and its subsidiary in the action – which is around 1,800 individuals.
If things go down as planned and Lionsgate is able to squeeze all former interns into the deal, each could walk away with $550 each.