The cable network has filed an emergency appeal after a New York judge bans the airing and the promotion of the based-on-true-story movie.
Lifetime is banned from airing "Romeo Killer: The Christopher Porco Story", a telepic about a man who murdered his dad and maimed his mom with an ax, this weekend. On Tuesday, March 19, Clinton County Supreme Court Judge Robert J. Muller ordered the cable network to stop promoting the TV movie in response to a motion filed six weeks ago by Porco.
Porco, who is serving 50 years to life, filed for the injunction, claiming that the movie "substantially fictionalized account ... about plaintiff and the events that led to his incarceration" and uses his name for "purposes of trade," in violation of New York Civil Rights Law section 51. Muller found that "defendant appears to concede that the movie is fictionalized" and eventually issued the restraining order.
In its memorandum in support of vacating or staying the restraining order, Lifetime countered that "the essential elements of the movie are true and accurate and based on court and police records, interviews with persons involved, and historical and other documents." The network argued that Porco came up with such injunction "based solely on Porco's hearsay observations about how the movie was being advertised" and "without any factual support at all."
Lifetime added that the network was put at risk because viewers would "come to see Lifetime as unreliable and not trustworthy, which will have long-term negative effects on Lifetime's 'brand' and reputation, and may ultimately lead to declines in its ratings" if the movie did not air.
Muller set April 26 for a full hearing on Porco's charges. By that time, Lifetime argued, the network would have already suffered severe damage.
Inspired by Porco's crime, "Romeo Killer: The Christopher Porco Story" stars "Hatfields & McCoys" actor Matt Barr as Chris Porco and "Will & Grace" actor Eric McCormack as a detective working to catch him. It was set to air on March 23.