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Coke to Buy Film Concern to Settle Suits

August 29, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Coca-Cola Co. has settled two lawsuits against its Columbia Pictures Television division by acquiring Four D Productions to get rights to the popular ″Barney Miller″ TV series.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed in a joint announcement Thursday by the two companies, but a source close to the case said the price was ″in excess of $50 million.″

The deal was based on the gross syndication value of more than $200 million for the series, the companies said.

As part of the deal, Four D Productions will drop federal and state lawsuits brought against Columbia accusing the company of anti-trust violations, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

Both suits were filed in 1984. The federal suit accused Columbia of licensing ″Barney Miller″ under so-called block booking or tie-in agreements, under which TV stations agree to buy a package of programs.

The suit contended Columbia then allocated to ″Barney Miller″ less of the proceeds than it was actually due, with the rest going to other programs.

″Barney Miller,″ a comedy about life in a Greenwich Village police precinct, ran on ABC for eight seasons from 1975 through 1982. In 1982, it won an Emmy as outstanding comedy series.

Since then, Columbia has syndicated the program to more than 180 TV stations.

Four D is owned by Danny Arnold.

Besides ″Barney Miller,″ Columbia gets rights to a spin-off series, ″Fish,″ that had a shorter life span.

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