NEW YORK An Emmy-winning comedy writer is suing
the producer of a TV series about a Spanish road trip by U.S.
celebrity chef Mario Batali and actress Gwyneth Paltrow, saying
he was never paid for weeks of work.
Ben Karlin, a former head writer for Comedy Central's "The
Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and co-writer of Stewart's
"America (The Book)," sued Frappe Inc on Tuesday in New York
state court for around $500,000 in damages and compensation.
In 2007, Frappe's president, Charles Pinsky, approached
Karlin to "conceptualize and oversee" a companion book to the
series, "Spain...on the Road Again," according to the lawsuit.
The series records a "cultural and gastronomic tour through
Spain" by Batali and Oscar winner Paltrow and will premier on
PBS TV stations in the fall, the lawsuit said.
But Karlin, who said he traveled twice to Spain after
Pinsky approved his concept for the book, said Pinsky delayed
giving him a signed contract for months and then dismissed him
Pinsky's lawyer, Leslie Ben-Zvi, said Karlin was
misrepresenting the facts.
"We will vigorously defend this lawsuit, including the good
names of Charles Pinsky and Mario Batali," he said.
Karlin said his role was poorly explained to others
involved with the project. He said he clashed with Batali, who
believed that Karlin was charged with writing the book, rather
than overseeing its creation, the lawsuit said.
"Batali, claiming preoccupation with other ventures, also
refused to contribute substantial material to the book, despite
Pinsky's assurances otherwise, and there was no indication that
any contribution from Paltrow was forthcoming," the lawsuit