It’s been a tumultuous week for everyone working at Duck Dynasty producer Gurney Productions whose founders Scott and Deirdre Gurney on Monday were put a “short, temporary leave of absence,” which ended today with the duo’s termination by owner ITV America, which also is suing them for fraud and breach of contract.
Gurney Prods. employees got a new interim boss, Craig Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of 5×5 Productions. In a staff memo today addressing the dismissal of the Gurneys and the lawsuit against them, he tried to reassure co-workers that they “will continue to have the full support of ITV America’s senior team as it’s very much business as usual.” Employees were advised not to communicate with the Gurneys, even if felt pressed to, and informed of a health insurance plan upgrade. (you can read the full memo below)
So far, as the drama was unfolding, Gurney Prods. has been able to keep up its commitments. I hear the ITV leadership had reached out to the TV networks that have business with the company to get their support. Series are being produced and delivered on time. Flagship Duck Dynasty, which is airing its final 11th season on A&E, is in post-production as is spinoff Si-ral; spinoff Jep & Jessica is filming Season 2, while new WE series Ghosts in the Hood is readying for a Jen. 5 debut. No employees have left the company so far as a result of the shakeup.
As it forges a legal battle with the Gurneys over the next few months, ITV also needs to find permanent solution for the future of Gurney Prods. For one, the name of the company needs to change. Armstrong also has his own company with Rick Ringbakk, so that needs to be sorted out should he stay on. ITV, which has a slew of reality banners under its umbrella, could choose to merge Gurney Prods. with one of them or fold it into ITV Entertainment.
Here is Armstrong’s memo:
Following a meeting with Scott and Deirdre Gurney, the Board of Gurney Productions has been left with no alternative but to terminate their employment and file a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California on the grounds of self-dealing, fraudulent concealment and breach of contract.
You will continue to have the full support of ITV America’s senior team as it’s very much business as usual. I’m very excited that you, our brilliant production team, can now totally focus on continuing to make and deliver our great shows.
It is with great pleasure that as part of ITV America we will in the near future begin to integrate Gurney Production staff into the more robust and competitive ITV America health and welfare options.
It says so much that each of you has stayed committed to the company and your work during this turbulent week and for that we are very grateful. I can also say that the Gurneys will not be returning to run this company. If you are contacted by them, or feel any pressure to communicate with them, or anyone on their behalf, please let us know immediately.
Let’s make some great tv!!!