Have reality shows grown so much that now the prizes are shrinking? A Food Network reality show contestant Kris Herrera has filed a lawsuit against Food Network, parent company Scripps Networks, and 16 Handles, saying the company failed to deliver his promised prize, the Hollywood Reporter reports.
According to the complaint, which can be found in full here, Herrera was a contestant of Giving You the Business, in which four employees are given the worst shift of their life while their CEO watches through hidden cameras. The best employee is rewarded their own franchise location.
Herrera claims that while he was repeatedly promised his own location of the New York fro-yo chain 16 Handles, he was only given a small, non-transferable non-voting share of the stock, after working a seven-hour shift and dealing with "situations of embarrassment and ridicule that placed him in a negative light."
In the complaint, Herrera claims he was first told to participate in a "corporate video," submitting photos of his family, then put on a seven-hour shift where "a customer tips the scales with her supersized order and a salesman makes a stink while a rowdy dodgeball team overtakes the store," Food Network's website says. Only after the shift (used to film b-roll and footage, we imagine), were the employees told to report to a TV studio and informed of their participation in the show.
After the episode finished filming, the network began "began advising [Herrera] that he was only going to be awarded a 'part of a franchise' or a 'stake in a franchise," the complaint says, and after Herrera discovered he was only going to be given a single share did he file suit for breach of contract, fraud, and violation of his right to privacy and publicity. He "would have never allowed the episode that showed him in situations of embarrassment, ridicule, defamation and false light to air…if he was not going to be awarded his own franchise store and if he was only going to be awarded a single, non-transferable, share of stock," the complaint says.
This isn't the first time a reality show contestant has claimed to be jipped of their prize; last year, the winner of Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell was promised the job of executive chef at Todd English's Olives in New York, only to claim that Todd English's team never contacted him (leading to various accounts of supposed hirings, angry calls, and subsequent non-hirings). Guess we'll be sticking to good old-fashioned résumé-dropping and cover letters.