Joe Nocera, who helped to create the hit Wondery podcast that was turned into an Apple TV+ series “The Shrink Next Door,” is suing his former employer Bloomberg Media over breach of contract.
Nocera, who is no longer with Bloomberg, is arguing the media company owes him profits from the Apple adaptation.
Nocera teamed with Wondery when he was an opinion columnist at Bloomberg to turn an unpublished column into a podcast that would end up being “The Shrink Next Door.” At the time, Bloomberg and Wondery had an existing partnership where they would collaborate on podcasts. Nocera’s story about Marty Markowitz and his therapist Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf was one of those collaborations.
Following the success of the podcast, Wondery shopped the rights to the podcast, which were acquired by MRC Studios. According to the lawsuit, Wondery and Bloomberg “would split any revenues generated from an agreement with MRC.”
Additionally, the lawsuit stated that “Bloomberg and Nocera also entered into a contract under which Nocera and Bloomberg agreed to evenly split all revenues Bloomberg earns from the exploitation of the podcast by any third-party not affiliated with Bloomberg.”
Nocera was expected to receive 100% of Bloomberg’s half of the initial option price for the series, which amounted to $125,000, according to the lawsuit. But Nocera says that Bloomberg told him that he would not be entitled to any advertising revenue from the series, citing the company’s stance that journalists were not entitled to advertising profits. Nocera argues this breaches the “all revenue” part of his deal.
In the lawsuit, Bloomberg acknowledged that MRC owed Nocera $322,500 but that the bulk of that money had aleady been paid out, with the rest amounting to $35,000. Nocera would get that money when Bloomberg recieved it from MRC. Nocera argues he is owed much more than that.
A spokesperson for Bloomberg News told TheWrap: “Mr. Nocera was treated fairly in all of his dealings with Bloomberg. We have honored and will continue to honor all of our contractual obligations with him.”
Shortly after the podcast was released, Nocera began to engage in a public dispute with investor Marc Cohodes regarding a biotech company called MiMedx. Nocera was strongly criticizing Cohodes in his columns, which drew complains by Cohodes over his rhetoric. Nocera also had to make some high-profile corrections to a few of his columns. After he went after Cohodes on Twitter in September, he was fired by Bloomberg (you can read the whole story on that in The Washington Post).
Pamela Chelin contributed to this story