According to the Hollywood Reporter, KTLA-TV’s Knutsson started his relationship with the station in 1995 after establishing himself as an expert reporter on technology. Within two years, his reports were being syndicated to about two dozen other TV stations across the country.
Knutsson signed a five-year deal with KTLA in 2008, but the CyberGuy claims in a lawsuit filed against the Tribune Company-owned station on February 11 that his contract was suddenly terminated in December 2010. Knutsson claims that two KTLA executives told him they would renegotiate a deal that would pay him less money, but KTLA news director Jason Ball and a Tribune human resources person said in a phone call three months later that Knutsson would no longer appear on the station at all.
According to the Reporter, Knutsson is suing KTLA and at least two other TV stations—including WPIX in New York and WGN in Chicago—for breach of contract, misappropriation of his name and likeness, unfair competition and age discrimination. Knutsson alleges that KTLA and the other stations not only failed to announce his departure to viewers, but the TV station continued to use the Knutsson’s name and image on its websites. When viewers clicked on those links, they were instead shown consumer technology reports by Rich DeMuro that were broadcast from the same studio as CyberGuy, with the same format and style as KTLA and the other stations. Knutsson claims that KTLA and the other stations also “manipulated content descriptions (keywords and metatags) in order to produce misleading results from common search engines so persons seeking Knutsson were routed to (DeMuro).”
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