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As the creator of Full House, Jeff Franklin can legitimately boast about delivering one of the most popular and time-honored sitcoms of the past few decades. Lightning even struck twice for Franklin when he developed Fuller House for Netflix, as the show has been quite a popular hit for the streaming giant. However, Franklin was completely dropped from Fuller House in early 2018, and now that the sitcom is going into its final season, its creator is getting litigious over his ousting.
On Tuesday, Jeff Franklin filed an intentional interference with prospective economic advantage complaint with the L.A. Superior court, with co-executive producer and current showrunner Bryan Behar as the accused/defendant. It’s Franklin’s standing that Behar was envious and put off by Franklin’s success, eventually leading to the creator’s removal.
Specifically, the lawsuit states the following:
Motivated by a secret hatred of Franklin and hoping to take his place someday as showrunner, Behar concocted a plan to compile unflattering and distasteful information about Franklin that was either fabricated or twisted versions of events and presented it first to the media and then to Warner Brothers in an effort to get Franklin thrown off Fuller House. Behar even encouraged others involved with Fuller House to do the same.
For those who might not remember, Jeff Franklin was excised in February 2018 after Warner Bros. TV had received multiple complaints about his behavior on the set of Fuller House and in the writers room. He wasn’t outright fired, but the studio decided not to renew his contract with the show, which was initially set with a three-year deal.
In the lawsuit, Jeff Franklin speaks about the timing of Bryan Behar’s alleged actions, saying that they took place just as the Netflix negotiations were happening. Because Behar served as the showrunner for Season 4, and will likely continue with the role for the fifth and final season, Franklin sees that career move as the former's motivation for allegedly spreading stories about Franklin's behavior.
Jeff Franklin spreads some more allegations about Bryan Behar throughout the lawsuit. It's stated that Franklin hired Behar and his writing partner Steve Baldikoski in the developmental days, and was "extremely supportive" of them, despite them allegedly stating that they'd worked on 19 sitcoms without being asked back for any second seasons. Franklin then goes on to say that Behar was often late for work, that he took naps and long breaks, that he failed to get along with others, and that he had up-and-down mood swings. (Among other complaints.)
Bryan Behar was also accused of keeping a "little black book" on the set, where he would allegedly write down notes about anything Jeff Franklin said or did that could potentially be viewed as negative in others' eyes. Franklin alleges that Behar also secretly photographed him with female friends, as well as the computer screen in his office. (It's not made clear how the photographs were used against him.)
In any case, Jeff Franklin claims that Bryan Behar made false accusations when reporting to Warner Bros. TV that the former often screamed at his employees, and that he would tell his female employees to dress provocatively, among other unprofessional comments. Franklin claims that Behar took advantage of the studio's heightened sense of scrutiny in the wake of #MeToo claims and changes across Hollywood.
In Jeff Franklin's eyes, he created Fuller House and is a big cause for its success, and the lawsuit claims that the TV franchise is his great joy, and that he thinks of the shows' casts as a second family. It's hard to argue against those things, considering Franklin created Full House proper back in 1987 and spent many years with those actors and crew members. But even if those things are true, that obviously doesn't mean that anyone else was responsible for sabotaging his work on Fuller House.
That said, he also claims that everyone involved on Fuller House believed that the show was going to last at least six seasons, and Franklin draws a negative connection between Bryan Behar and Steve Baldikoski's first season running things, and the relative quickness with which Netflix decided to end the sitcom.
No specific financial restitution was noted in the lawsuit, but Jeff Franklin is seeking compensatory, consequential, incidental and punitive damages, as well as getting his legal fees taken care of.
Lawsuits like this could take years to figure out, especially with allegations such as these. In the meantime, Netflix is gearing to bring Fuller House Season 5 to fans in 2019, but no specific release date has been released just yet. Here's hoping no more behind-the-scenes problems affect the show's swan song, unless it involves the Olsen twins returning.