‘Valley of the Dolls’ Lawsuit Threatens TV Adaptation

Estate of author Jacqueline Susann claims that Fox waived its rights to turn “Valley of the Dolls” into a series

Last Updated: March 16, 2012 @ 7:24 PM

"Valley of the Dolls" might not be coming to the small screen after all.

Tiger LLC — which represents the estate of "Valley" authoress Jacqueline Susann — filed a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment on Thursday, claiming that Fox has no right to turn the landmark lurid novel into a television series.

20th Century Fox Television and Chernin Entertainment are producing the series, which NBC has purchased. "Precious" director Lee Daniels is writing and producing.

Also read: NBC Buys "Valley of the Dolls"  Adaptation

"Defendants have been developing, distributing and offering for sale a 'Valley of the Dolls' series without Tiger's authorization," the suit reads. "Defendants' unlawful exploitation of Tiger's right, title, and interest in and to 'Valley of the Dolls' constitutes copyright infringement, breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing."

Read the full lawsuit here.

Susann's "Valley of the Dolls" book — about a group of women who move to Hollywood and become addicted to pills — spent 28 weeks at the top of the New York Times' bestseller list, and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

According to the suit, Fox obtained the rights to make the 1967 film adaptation of Susann's novel but waived its rights to make the book into a series.

"In 1992 Fox failed to exercise its right of first refusal for a television series based on 'Valley of the Dolls,'" the suit reads. Instead, Suzanne's estate entered into an agreement with New World Entertainment for a syndicated series, which ran for 65 episodes.

Fox had no comment on the lawsuit for TheWrap.

A 1981 TV movie, "Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls," was made by Fox, with the blessing of Susann's widower,
Irving Mansfield.

Claiming copyright infringement, breach of written contract, and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, the suit is seeking unspecified damages to be determined at trial.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this article.