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<i>Will & Grace</i> lawsuit settled (8135)

8135Entertainment News2003-03-26

Will & Grace lawsuit settled

An interior designer who claimed he was the uncredited model for the flamboyantly gay character Jack McFarland on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace settled his lawsuit with one of the show's writers for an undisclosed sum, his attorney said on Monday. In his lawsuit, Jack Deamer contended that writer Jason "Max" Mutchnick reneged on a promise to buy him a house and car if Deamer would allow the Jack character, a pal and sometime irritant to Will Truman and Grace Adler, to be based on him. Deamer initially named NBC as a defendant in the lawsuit, but a judge dismissed the network, which is owned by General Electric Co., from the case last year.

The case, filed in March 2001, was scheduled to go to trial this week in Los Angeles superior court. "The lawsuit was resolved by mutual agreement of the parties," Deamer's attorney, Alan Harris, told Reuters. Deamer and Mutchnick were friends for 10 years before Mutchnick created the 1998 Will & Grace pilot and told Deamer that it included a character named Jack, the lawsuit said.

Upon watching the pilot, Deamer was "chagrined, embarrassed, and devastated as he realized that the 'TV Jack' character was a thinly veiled caricature of himself," the lawsuit said. The "flamboyantly gay, constantly over-the-top, promiscuous, and irresponsible" character shared Deamer's favorite pastimes and his style of wearing a turtleneck with a sweater tied around his neck, khaki pants, and sneakers.

The suit said Will & Grace writers asked Deamer for his used sneakers so that actor Sean Hayes, who plays "TV Jack," could wear them in the show. Mutchnick mined his conversations with Deamer to write dialogue, the suit said. Deamer pleaded with Mutchnick to rename his TV alter ego. Mutchnick refused but said if the show were a success, he would buy Deamer a house and car worth $500,000, the suit said. Although the show was sold into syndication in March 2000 for a reported $100 million, the suit said, Mutchnick refused to honor his oral agreement with Deamer.

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