Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Animal Trainers Sue Over Talent Fight on Nickelodeon’s ‘Mutt & Stuff’

A Hollywood animal casting agency says they got the doggone shaft when a trainer went behind their back and cut his own lucrative deal, and now they’re looking to collect some major bones, reports The Blast.

According to documents obtained by The Blast, Animal Savvy says in 2013 and 2014 they were approached by a production company to provide a “number of dogs to perform on a television special pilot called Mutt & Stuff.

Animal Savvy says they immediately contacted famed animal trainer Omar Von Muller, who famously trained the late pup Uggie from The Artist. Muller had a dog named Jumpy (pictured above) that the casting agency thought would be perfect for the role of Zippy.

After the show got picked up by Nickelodeon, Animal Savvy says they were selected as the animal provider, so they cut a deal with Von Muller to use Jumpy and two of his other dogs, Popeye and Dash.

Mutt & Stuff became a clear success, but Animal Savvy says the money Muller was getting “was apparently not enough,” so he allegedly hatched a deal with producers to cut Animal Savvy out of the deal with his dogs.

Animal Savvy says in October 2015 they got a text message from Muller informing them that “Jumpy is irreplaceable, he’s the star of the show that nickelodeon wants.” Muller allegedly said he could not work with Animal Savvy as a partner anymore, and that “You can still make money out of 20 dogs if you want to, but not from mine. Especially Jumpy.”

Muller allegedly effectively cut Animal Savvy out of their 1/3 animal rental fee, and now they’re going after Muller for $98,141.66 claiming he breached their contract by trying to cut his own deal.

Set in a unique school for dogs, Mutt & Stuff stars Calvin Millan and his dad, Cesar, star of Cesar 911 and original star of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, interacting with a cast of both real Dogs and puppets. With the help of 15 playful puppies and charismatic puppets, Calvin educates preschoolers on how to train and guide their dogs, as well as showcase the friendship and loyalty that puppies can provide. The series has a social-emotional curriculum that helps preschoolers identify and manage emotions, build interpersonal awareness and develop social skills.

Mutt & Stuff is created and executive produced by Sid & Marty Krofft (H.R. Pufnstuf, Land Of The Lost, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, The Bugaloos), along with Bradley Zweig (Yo Gabba Gabba!, Wallykazam!). Cesar Millan also serves as executive producer.

Mutt & Stuff - What's that Zippy? from Jared Cohen on Vimeo.

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