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Employment contract signing.A lawsuit involving the Public Broadcasting Service and former television host Tavis Smiley is creating the kind of drama that would make the cast of Downton Abbey blush, and that includes Maggie Smith in her role as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. That is because the litigation centers on an alleged breach of the “morals clause” included in the agreement that gave rise to the Tavis Smiley talk show, which PBS used to air nightly beginning in 2004. While the case is still pending, a recent ruling relating to the interpretation of that morals clause provides some very useful lessons—but first, a bit of background.

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