CBS Television Studios and "NCIS" and "JAG" creator Don Bellisario have settled a lawsuit over the "NCIS" offshoot "NCIS: Los Angeles," the network and Bellisario said Friday.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, though Bellisario said in a statement that the suit had been resolved "amicably." CBS Television Studios president David Stapf praised Bellisario in a statement announcing the settlement.
While admitting a difference of opinion between the two parties, CBS Television Studios president David Stapf praised Bellisario as "one of the best creative talents of his time and a valued member of the CBS family.”
Bellisario sued CBS Television Studios in April 2011, claiming that he had been fired in 2007, but was given first opportunity rights to "participate creatively and economically in the development" of any shows spawned from those he created. Bellisario contended that those series would include "NCIS: Los Angeles," which was launched in 2009.
"['NCIS: Los Angeles'] scrupulously replicates that which has made NCIS so popular and it does so with near clone-like fidelity to Bellisario's recipe, thereby capturing the distinctive 'look and feel' of 'NCIS,'" Bellisario's complaint read.
"Don Bellisario has no rights to what he is claiming in this suit," CBS told TheWrap after the suit was filed. "The contract is clear, the facts are undeniable and the courts won't need Naval intelligence to conclude that the case has no merit. We continue to honor all of our obligations to Mr. Bellisario under the actual agreement."
This week, "NCIS" and "NCIS: Los Angeles" hit season highs in viewership, amassing 20.9 million and 17.8 million total viewers, respectively.