Burns battled the subpoena, claiming that it violated journalistic privilege. The city, meanwhile, insisted that Burns lost his journalistic privilege when he publicly advocated on behalf of the film’s subjects.
Manhattan Federal Court Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis sided with Burns on Tuesday, writing in his ruling that the city “failed to present this court with ‘a concern so compelling as to override the precious rights of freedom of speech and the press’ [that] the reporter’s privilege seeks to ensure.”
The five men were convicted of raping Trisha Melli in Central Park, giving confessions after 16 hours of interrogation without legal representation. Years later, they were released after another man confessed to the crime.
“David McMahon, Sarah Burns and I are grateful for this important decision; we feel the judge made exactly the right ruling,” Burns said Wednesday in a statement, adding that the ruling “adds a layer of important protection to journalists and filmmakers everywhere.”
Perry comedy to OWN
TBS’s Tyler Perry comedy “For Better or Worse” is moving to Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, the latter announced Wednesday.
On its new network, the show’s third season will debut in the fall. The original cast members are set to return in their starring roles, including Tasha Smith, Michael Jai White, Crystle Stewart, Kent Faulcon, Kiki Haynes and Jason Olive.
OWN also has snagged the first two seasons (45 episodes) of the comedy about three couples in various stages of their relationships. TBS telecast those first two seasons.
It will be Perry’s third scripted series at OWN. Perry recently signed an exclusive deal with the cable network — a co-venture of Oprah’s Harpo and Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications — to create two original series.
A comedy, “Love Thy Neighbor,” and an ensemble drama, “The Haves and the Have Nots,” are scheduled to premiere in May as OWN’s first venture into original scripted fare.
“For Better or Worse” was basic cable’s No. 1 sitcom in 2011, and the No. 1 show on television among African American adults. In 2011, it averaged about 3 million viewers. By 2012, it was down to 2 million.
To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/