The producers of the reality hit “Duck Dynasty” have been fired and sued for fraud by the company that bought their production shingle four years ago.
ITV America said Friday it had sacked Scott and Deirdre Gurney, veteran reality producers whose “Duck Dynasty” became one of the biggest reality hits on cable TV. The company also said it was suing the husband and wife team for fraud and breach of contract following an audit that, according to ITV, determined the couple was secretly operating another production company that competed with Gurney Productions, which ITV purchased in 2012.
Craig Armstrong, a reality veteran who had temporarily taken the helm during the audit, was named interim CEO of Gurney Productions.
The Gurneys could not immediately be reached for comment.
“Following a meeting with Scott and Deirdre Gurney, the Board of Gurney Productions has been left with no alternative but to terminate their employment and file a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California on the grounds of self-dealing, fraudulent concealment and breach of contract,” a Gurney Productions spokeswoman wrote.
According to the lawsuit, the Gurneys sold a majority stake in their production company — which produces A&E’s “Duck Dynasty,” about a Louisiana backwoods family with a successful duck call business — but then secretly formed a new production entity, Snake River Productions.
“They formed Snake River as part of an unlawful plan to misappropriate the company’s opportunities for themselves and to artificially inflate the company’s EBITDA,” or earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortization, the complaint added.
A&E and the Robertson family, which stars in “Duck Dynasty” had separately announced earlier this year that this current season would be the last for the series. That announcement appears to be unrelated to the problems at Gurney Productions.