Earlier this year, Streit, a longtime friend of the author, filed suit against Bushnell after she refused to pay him his cut from the sale of the show’s syndication rights. Widely suspected of being the inspiration for Carrie’s balding gay best friend—“the most pathetic gay image ever shown on screen,” Streit sniffs, “ I mean Harvey Fierstein would gay bash this guy!”—he also alleged that Bushnell had appropriated large parts of her novel Four Blondes from a screenplay she offered to “edit”.
Streit is seeking 10 percent of Bushnell’s take from the show’s syndication. But even if the suit proves successful, his chances of collecting more than a pittance are pretty slim. Desperate to redecorate her apartment, sources say, Bushnell actually sold the rights to her longtime friend and producer Darren Star for $60,000 in 1996, years before the raunchy hit became a runaway success.
Asked about her payday from the deal, Bushnell declines to divulge an exact dollar figure. “Let me just say that I have not made millions of dollars from Sex and the City,” she says, admitting that she took the opportunity to cash out long before the show took off. “That’s showbiz,” she sighs. Consequently, she admits, it is “highly unlikely” that she’ll ever see a dime from syndication, (though her subsequent books and other projects have reportedly earned her millions).
If so, Streit may be left holding the Prada bag—unless, of course, he sues Star, a possibility he claims he’s currently entertaining. “Darren is a wonderful guy, but he’s too rich to be as cheap as he is,” he said. “He wouldn’t spare you an ice cube if he was dismantling an igloo.” Nevertheless, he insists that there is no evidence that Bushnell has sold off her rights, pointing to the lavishly appointed Fifth Avenue apartment featured on the cover of September’s Elle Decor. And even if she has parted with the rights, he continues, “then we will reluctantly have to bring Star into the suit, because I’m entitled to ten percent of that money. I was instrumental in having launched Candace. I knew she had potential—otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten involved with each other. ”
Bushnell points out that she was a successful magazine journalist long before she ever met Streit. While she says she’s saddened that her friendship with Streit has soured, at least she still has Star. Page Six reported last week that the producer had scooped up the rights to her upcoming book, Lipstick Jungle, which he planned to turn into a t.v. series. Though the paper retracted the item a day later, the deal may still not be dead in the water. “There is a lot of interest,” Bushnell say discreetly. “The Post item was premature.”