Richard Davis, broker-owner of Trademark Properties Real Estate Inc., goes to court today in his home city of Charleston, S.C., where he is fighting A&E Television Networks.
His suit claims A&E owes him as much as $30 million for creating the popular show, â€œFlip This House.â€
Five years ago at the height of the real estate boom, Davis, who had no TV experience, spent $85,000 to make a TV pilot, called â€œWorst to First.â€ A&E bought it from him, renamed it and within its first season, it was a hit.
Davis claims in his lawsuit that A&E had verbally agreed to share half of the showâ€™s revenues with him. A&E denies making such a promise.
A 50-50 split is unheard of in the television business, experts say. Generally, program creators earn a small portion of a showâ€™s profits.
According to court documents, Davis spent $6 million buying and renovating houses in Charleston that were featured in the showâ€™s first season. He says he was never paid for his appearances or reimbursed for his expenses.
A&E says Davis got a â€œpowerful form of advertisingâ€ for Trademark Properties Inc.