Strip star Mat Franco, Base Entertainment fighting in court

Updated November 21, 2018 - 10:59 pm

Mat Franco is trying to break his, um, Linq with production partner Base Entertainment.

The star magician who headlines in his eponymous theater at The Linq Hotel has been battling with Base in court since last month. In a lawsuit filed in Federal Court on Oct. 25, Franco is seeking $1 million in damages from Base, alleging the company has concealed ticket profits form his show.

The magician’s claim is he is to be paid 50 percent of the production’s profits, after Base Entertainment has recouped 125-percent of its original investment in the show.

First reported by The Blast magazine website, the documents show that Franco claims Base has “dragged its feet” and delayed allowing him to audit the production’s financial records. Without that information, Franco says, he is in the dark about how much he is actually to receive from his own show.

The suit’s timing is in line with the end of Franco’s original contract with Base, which ran from the time it was signed in December 2014 through this June. As the original deal expired, Base enacted an option to extend Franco’s show for two years. Franco argues that provision is void because Base in in breach of the original contract.

Reached via text this week, Franco said only that the litigation is ongoing and he has nothing to add outside of his complaint. He is represented by Kelley, Drye & Warren of Las Vegas.

A representative for Base, whose counsel is Campbell & Williams, responded to a text message, “The statements made in the lawsuit you are inquiring about are not accurate and Base is in the process of filing a response to the complaint. In the meantime, the show will continue as scheduled at the Linq.”

The Season 9 “America’s Got Talent” champ and first magician to win the show’s title, the 30-year-old Franco has performed a 40-week schedule since opening at the Linq in August 2015. The 600-seat Linq showroom was renamed Mat Franco Theater in April 2017. Base officials, including company CEO Brian Becker, were on hand to celebrate the event. In July, Franco celebrated his 1,000th show on the Strip.

This is not the first time Base has turned its attention from the showroom to the courtroom while co-producing a hit show.

The company famously fought Spiegelworld, producers of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, for more than two years in a dispute over ticket rebates. At one point, “Absinthe” announced it was moving — without Base’s authorization — to the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Instead, in June 2017, the two sides announced an out-of-court settlement in which Base would no longer serve as a production partner in the show.

Base Entertainment is still partners in “Magic Mike Live” at Hard Rock Hotel, which has opened a new show in London; “Criss Angel Mindfreak” opening Dec. 19 at Planet Hollywood; and “Nitro Circus Las Vegas” motor-sports spectacular scheduled to open next year at Bally’s.

More illusion action

Hearing that the spellbinding magician and reigning “AGT” champ Shin Lim is zeroing in on his favored venue on the Strip. No, it’s not at the Linq Hotel. He’s reportedly looking outside the Caesars Entertainment family (this month’s “AGT Live” show was at Caesars’ Paris Theater); and would likely perform monthly to keep his touring schedule open. He would not open before the summer, because of commitments in that schedule.

His lips are sealed

Mirage headliner Terry Fator’s next puppet has impressed even those who have been with his show from the start. Fator has been coy about the new act, saying only that it’s a male puppet. But this is evidently some sorta ground-breaking figure, to be unveiled formally Friday night, in time for his annual holiday show.

Pour some sugar on this

Def Leppard to Zappos Theater in 2019? Hearing such. That’s fine with me. Make it so. The band previously headlined The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel for an extended run spring 2013.

Strat haps

Watch for a 9 p.m. show coming to the Stratosphere early next year, and this one will get a lot of attention.

Mirage de la Gossy

We’re eagerly awaiting the December dates for Matt Goss at 1 Oak Nightclub at the Mirage. At the moment, his final listed show for 2018 is Tuesday. And if someone has a bootleg version of “After the Screaming Stops,” DM me. Seems you need to live in the U.K. to actually watch that doc, which is supposed to be great.

An order for here

MB Steak at Hard Rock Hotel figures prominently as the resort’s restaurant lineup amid changeover plans, Richard “Boz” Bosworth, president and CEO of hotel ownership group J.C. Hospitality, texted, “We are excited and look forward to evolving with MB Steak in the great signature restaurant tradition of Michael and David Morton. MB Steak plays a critical role in the food-and-beverage reprogramming of the Hard Rock to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.”

MB is important culinarily, and also in terms of celebrity, as many headliners (such as members of Journey and Incubus) fistic luminaries (Ricky Hatton), film stars (Channing Tatum) and international newsmakers (Virgin founder Richard Branson) have dined there. For this quality, we give a nod to under the stewardship of bar manager and the city’s foremost “funologist,” Johnny O’Donnell.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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