Fans of TLC’s The Little Couple miss seeing Dr. Jennifer Arnold, Bill Klein, Will, and Zoey on television each week. The last new episodes aired in March 2016 and nobody expected there to be such a long wait for new shows. A messy legal battle has been playing out between Discovery, which owns TLC, and LMNO, the production company for the show, and now Jen and Bill are getting involved legally as well.
As was previously detailed by the Inquisitr, the legal fight between LMNO and Discovery began last summer and is still unresolved. The Little Couple and a handful of other shows were shelved temporarily as the two entities battled over rights to the content. Both entities are making accusations toward the other and Jen and Bill’s Little Couple show has been caught in the middle.
When the last new episodes had aired more than a year ago, Arnold had indicated that there would be more shows on the way. However, that was before this legal battle got ugly and now nobody has said anything specific since then as everything remains up in the air. However, some photos that Jen shared over Easter led Little Couple fans to suspect that filming might still be happening, even if a return date was not pinned down.
In the Instagram post, which contained two photos showing Zoey and Will over Easter, Little Couple fans spotted camera equipment in the second photo of the post that featured Will. This was clearly a professional film crew, giving fans a dose of hope and excitement that the family was on the verge of returning to TLC with new episodes.
However, it looks as if a Little Couple return date may not be on the horizon quite yet. The Hollywood Reporter detailed that Jen and Bill have now initiated litigation of their own in relation to the battle with LMNO. Papers were recently filed in California with Arnold and Klein seeking to reclaim the intellectual property rights for the series.
A substantial part of the legal issues for the production company revolve around a former accountant who allegedly embezzled a great deal of money, attempted extortion, and worked on falsifying records. The FBI got involved, and LMNO maintains that when Discovery caught wind of the investigation, they made moves to take control of the content of LMNO’s that they aired.
However, Discovery says that the accountant alerted them to issues within the production company where they were being defrauded by paying inflated production costs. They asserted that given these issues, they had a right to take ownership of the content. The legal battle over a handful of shows, including Little Couple, has been going on for about a year, with only content for 7 Little Johnstons being released to Discovery.
Now, Jen and Bill are getting involved legally as well. Their attorneys are filing suit over what they say was systematic fraud by LMNO and they are making claims related to fraud, breach of contract, unfair competition and other issues. Arnold and Klein are seeking emotional distress, punitive, and compensatory damages.
Discovery is not opposing the motion made by the Little Couple stars at this point. However, there is some pushback already and it comes from a former LMNO executive vice president. Edward Horwitz, who is now with the CBS show the Talk, is named as a proposed defendant in Jen and Bill’s filing. He is opposing the intervention, claiming that Arnold and Klein are too late to make any claims, adding an allegation that the filing is just repackaging the Discovery claims.
Where do things head from here? Unfortunately, it looks like the legal battle over the rights to Jen and Bill’s Little Couple will continue for the foreseeable future. It is too soon to know whether Jen Arnold and Bill Klein’s filing will have any impact on bringing the series back to TLC with new episodes, despite the fact that there is content already filmed and ready to go from the sounds of things. Fans remain hopeful that The Little Couple will be back at some point, and as far as they’re concerned, the sooner the better.
[Featured Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]