CNBC Looks to File Lawsuit Against Producer that Left


CNBC is not happy that a Producer left the network to join another company. And the business channel is thinking about suing the Producer, even though he didn't leave for a rival channel, or cable television at all.  He went to a social media company.

BuzzFeed writes that Executives at business news cable network CNBC are threatening to file a breach of contract lawsuit against a producer who left to become Chief Executive of StockTwits, which describes itself as a real-time social network for investors and traders, according to two sources close to the situation.

StockTwits two weeks ago hired John Melloy, a seven-year veteran of CNBC who produced the network’s Fast Money Halftime Report and Fast Money shows as well as wrote its Behind the Money blog, as its new CEO. And while Melloy told Business Insider that it was his decision to leave CNBC, he is apparently still under contract with the network, meaning that he wasn’t an at-will employee free to leave at any time, sources said.

According to both sources, part of the reason why Melloy left CNBC is because executives rebuffed his overtures for a broader role with more involvement on the digital side of the business.

“He wanted to do something more creative and in the news flow,” this source said.

That CNBC, a cable network worth several billion dollars, is even considering filing a lawsuit against a relatively unknown producer underscores the rise of social media, particularly Twitter and websites like StockTwits that seek to leverage Twitter’s reach, as a medium for breaking news and information. Typically, such legal remedies are reserved for high-ranking executives who are attempting to leave one company to go to a direct competitor, which in this case would more traditionally be defined as another cable news network such as Fox Business, Bloomberg, or perhaps even CNN.

Indeed, if CNBC does move forward with a lawsuit against Melloy, one of the sources said the cause it would most likely pursue would be “exclusivity,” meaning that Melloy is only authorized to work for and get paid by CNBC while under contract.

A CNBC representative said the network does not comment on the contract status of employees. Howard Lindzon, the founder of StockTwits who will move into the chairman role to make room for Melloy, declined comment. Melloy, who both sources said was “well-liked and well-respected” inside the CNBC newsroom, did not respond to a request for comment.