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May 19, 2014

Fact Checking: The Reality Of Nicci Gilbert’s “R&B Divas” Lawsuit

Nicci Gilbert 2

Former “R&B Divas” star Nicci Gilbert has filed a lawsuit over TV One’s upcoming series, “Hollywood Divas.”

In a suit filed electronically in Fulton County on May 13, Gilbert and her production company NOEGO Entertainment, LLC are suing ThinkFactory Media, Inc and TV One LLC because of the creation of the “Hollywood Divas” franchise.

The 43-year-old member of the R&B trio Brownstone claims that she is not being compensated for the apparent spin-off, which is an alleged breach of her contract. Additionally, the 15-count court filing makes egregious claims against ThinkFactory Media, Inc citing defamation, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, emotional distress, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage and tortious interference with business relations, among other things.

Nicci Gilbert & Faith Evans

Several blog sites have reported that singer Faith Evans, who co-executive produced “R&B Divas” with Gilbert, is part of the lawsuit as well. That is incorrect. After both reading the court documents and speaking to a clerk at the Fulton County Court, we can confirm that Evans is not listed as a co-litigant in the suit.

 

READ: Diva Diaries: TV One Shooting Series With Hollywood Actresses 

 

As it pertains to TV One’s new series “Hollywood Divas,” Gilbert’s lawsuit would appear to be misdirected as it pertains to ThinkFactory Media, Inc. That production company, though producers of the “R&B Divas” franchises in both Atlanta and Los Angeles, has zero involvement in the new show launched by TV One.

As AlwaysAList.com reported on May 7, “Hollywood Divas” is being executive-produced in a joint venture with Todd Tucker’s TTucker Productions and Carlos King’s Kingdom Reign Entertainment directly for TV One.

Nicci Gilbert

In a formal release about “Hollywood Divas” serviced to the media by TV One early this month, the language does describe “Hollywood Divas” as a spin-off of “R&B Divas.” The headline in the release read: “TV One To Expand Hit ‘Diva’ Franchise With Launch Of New Series ‘Hollywood Divas.'”

If Gilbert’s original contract grants her compensation and executive producer credit for any derivatives of “R&B Divas” franchise, it could justify her litigation against TV One only.

For the first time, the Detroit-bred entertainer does admit in the legal documents that both she and Evans contracts were not renewed by ThinkFactory Media.

That admission is contradictory to a series of interviews Gilbert did last fall, including one with Madame Noir, declaring she left the show on her own because she “just realized that it really wasn’t a good look for me as a 43-year-old woman with a daughter that I’m trying to raise.” Now, Gilbert claims ThinkFactory Media “effectively pushed” her “out of a series that she worked for eight years to create.”

 

READ: Fresh Voices: New Singers Added To Both “R&B Divas” Casts 

 

Jamie Foster Brown’s Sister 2 Sister magazine is also mentioned in the lawsuit. The November 2013 edition of the monthly gossip magazine featured an interview with Gilbert and Evans, but Gilbert presents in her court filings it was done without her permission. “Ultimately without Plaintiff Gilbert’s knowledge or consent, Ms. Foster Brown printed her and Plaintiff Gilbert’s entire conversation,” her attorney alleges in the document.

Gilbert further claims that she entered her partnership with ThinkFactory Media because they allegedly told her “they understood the purpose of the series, the show would remain positive, that it would work to protect Plaintiff Gilbert and the other cast members’ brands and that the goal of the series was not to be ‘train wreck TV.'”

She believes ThinkFactory Media “knew that it intended to create a drama-ridden show that would reflect the negative images commonly seen on reality television.” Gilbert’s own actions on “R&B Divas” were regularly criticized and condemned by the viewing audience on social media and via TV One message boards. Though she claims her image as the show’s villain was all the result of editing, Gilbert did participate in multiple arguments and had disputes with multiple members of the cast.

Since being let go from the series, Gilbert claims she has not received any compensation for her title as executive producer. Her legal documents allege that ThinkFactory Media opted not to pay Gilbert claiming “she has breached the confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions of the agreement” in the multiple interviews she did after being let go as an on-air talent.

Gilbert is seeking punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

Neither TV One nor ThinkFactory Media has commented on this pending litigation.

TV One’s “R&B Divas” original cast: Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Monifah KeKe Wyatt & Syleena Johnson

 






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