U of T may feel blues again as ‘Varsity Blues’ comes to TV

Pop Goes The News — Seventeen years after paying a Canadian university for using the title, Paramount is moving ahead with a TV series based on the movie Varsity Blues.

U.S. cable channel CMT and Paramount Television have enlisted W. Peter Iliff — who wrote the film’s screenplay — to bring the football drama to the small screen.

Varsity Blues, starring James Van Der Beek and Paul Walker, grossed $54.3 million in 1999. It focused on players of a high school football team in a fictional small Texas town. Jon Voight played the team’s abusive coach.

The University of Toronto, which owns the trademark for “Varsity Blues,” slapped Paramount with a lawsuit, claiming the movie depicted negative stereotypes about collegiate sports.

The studio settled with the U of T for a “significant” but undisclosed sum — enough to fund eight athletic scholarships.

Paramount also agreed to print a disclaimer on video copies of the movie explaining that the team portrayed in the movie is not based on those in the U of T athletic program.

The U of T’s football, hockey, soccer, basketball and volleyball teams are called the Varsity Blues.

It’s not known if Paramount will once again distance the series’ fictional team from the U of T with a disclaimer. No one at the school was available to comment on the record.