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Netflix Triumphs in $8.8 Million Legal Battle for Upcoming TV Show

In a high-profile dispute between Netflix and Hollywood director Carl Erik Rinsch over a science-fiction series that never made it to air, an arbitrator recently ruled in favor of the streaming giant. The ruling awarded Netflix nearly $9 million in damages, stemming from Mr. Rinsch’s failure to deliver any episodes of the television show “Conquest,” which he had sold to Netflix during the peak of the streaming boom in 2018. This decision came after Netflix had to write off the $55 million it had invested in the project, highlighting a shift in the industry towards prioritizing profitability over extravagant spending.

Netflix ultimately scrapped the development of “Conquest” in early 2021 due to Mr. Rinsch’s erratic behavior. Reports surfaced of his claims to Netflix executives about discovering secret Covid-19 transmission mechanisms and his purported ability to predict earthquakes and lightning strikes. Following Netflix’s decision to halt funding for the show, Mr. Rinsch reportedly embarked on a lavish spending spree with the remaining production funds. He lived extravagantly in five-star hotels across California and Spain, while also acquiring a collection of luxury cars and high-end furniture under the guise of them being props for the show.

Arbitrator Rita Miller, a former Los Angeles Superior Court judge, presided over the case and ruled that none of Mr. Rinsch’s extravagant purchases were essential for the production of “Conquest.” She awarded Netflix $8.78 million, representing the amount of production funds she deemed squandered by Mr. Rinsch. Additionally, she granted Netflix control over the “Conquest” footage, which Mr. Rinsch had retained until the ruling.

Mr. Rinsch, who initiated the arbitration process claiming that Netflix had breached their contract and owed him at least $14 million, did not respond to requests for comment following the ruling.

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