Will Shana Hiatt be back on TV soon?

by Lou on September 24, 2006

Former World Poker Tour hostess Shana Hiatt was NBC’s top choice to replace Kathryn Tappen on National Heads-Up Poker Championship.

But when NBC sought permission to hire Hiatt, the WPT refused to release her from her contract. Hiatt responded by filing a lawsuit in the LA County Superior Court in Santa Monica against WPT Enterprises and Steve Lipscomb because they “unlawfully interfered with the right of television host and actress, Plaintiff Shana Hiatt, to pursue employment in the television industry.”

The complaint also states that the WPT and Steve Lipscomb cited an illegal and unenforceable non-compete clause in a draft of an agreement that Hiatt never signed to threaten Hiatt and her future employers with legal action in the event that she appears on a poker themed television program produced by someone other than the WPT.

Hiatt seeks monetary damages for the WPT’s conduct as well as injunctive relief that prohibits the WPT from “engaging in any conduct seeking to prevent or prohibit [Hiatt] from seeking employment with a third party other than WPT.”

Hiatt has obtained a temporary restraining order that enjoins and restrains the WPT from preventing or prohibiting Hiatt from seeking employment with NBC.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. From a public relations standpoint, this dispute seems to be a potential trainwreck for the WPT, but only time will tell.

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