NEW YORK – An actor who says he created the "Dog the Bounty Hunter" reality TV program has sued the show's producers for at least $5 million that he claims they owe him in royalties, salary and other compensation.
Boris Krutonog of Los Angeles says the A&E Television Networks and others failed to pay him for the fourth season of the show as its creator and co-executive producer. Filming for the fifth season recently began.
The Honolulu-based show's producers also have failed to give Krutonog accountings of money earned from home video, TV syndication and other sources, according to his papers filed this week in Manhattan's state Supreme Court.
Krutonog also complains in court papers that he was the target of "abusive, violent and outrageous conduct" and "episodes of psychotic behavior by" the show's stars, Duane "Dog" Chapman and his wife Beth.
Krutonog says A&E, television producer David Houts and his companies, Hybrid Films Inc. and D&D Television Productions Inc., breached their contract with him. He seeks compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.
On Wednesday, Houts referred questions about Krutonog's claims to A&E. The networks' spokesman, Dan Silberman, said he could not comment on pending litigation.
Krutonog, a Russian-born actor who had roles in "Air Force One," "The Hunt for Red October" and "The Italian Job," says in court papers that he introduced himself to "Dog" Chapman in 1995.
Believing that Chapman's colorful life and exploits could be the basis of a movie or a television show, Krutonog signed contracts with Chapman and received the exclusive right to develop the program, court papers say.
Chapman's adventures included a raid into Mexico in 2003 to capture serial rapist and fugitive Andrew Luster. Chapman and his crew had faced criminal charges there because of the abduction but a Mexican judicial panel dismissed the case.
Between 1995 and 2003, Krutonog developed what became "Dog the Bounty Hunter," court papers say. They say that to get his consent to produce and air the show, A&E agreed to pay him as co-executive producer "for the life of the program."
The show was pulled off the air in November after Chapman was heard in a taped telephone conversation using a racial slur to refer to his son's girlfriend, who is black. Last week, Chapman and A&E executives announced the return of the show with Chapman saying he was "ashamed" of his racial remarks.