The reality-show lawsuits continue, and it looks like Fox has been naughty again.
A group of four people has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that claims Fox Broadcasting, Dick Clark Productions, Martin Erlichman Associates, and American Idol production company 19 Entertainment stole their idea for the hit Fox reality show So You Think You Can Dance.
The suit, obtained by Web site TMZ, claims that the group of four plaintiffs, John Cassese, Mark Wolfe, Maria Lamagra, and Brian Nelson, came up with the idea for So You Think You Can Dance and registered it with the Writers Guild of America in May 2003. In July of that year, the four met with Martin Erlichman Associates to pitch the show around Hollywood, with the plaintiffs attached as writers, directors, and producers.
In September of 2003, the plaintiffs say they were suddenly unable to contact Martin Erlichman Associates, and that last they knew, Erlichman and Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency were shopping the show to networks. According to the suit, Erlichman did not return their phone calls.
In June of 2005, the plaintiffs learned that Fox was producing a show called So You Think You Can Dance, with a remarkably similar description to the show they had made up.
The lawsuit states the plaintiffs had created a 60-minute dance show, featuring skilled solo dancers paired with strangers, who receive tutelage each from experienced dancers in an effort to learn a new dance style. At the end of each episode, the couples would face off in an elimination-style competition in fron of a live audience. The dancers would be "young, edgy, and diverse."
Most telling is the fact that the names of both shows are exactly the same.
So You Think you Can Dance is proving to be a ratings winner for Fox. On Wednesday, the show earned a 4.0 rating/13 share in the ratings, helping Fox win the nightly ratings crown.
This is not the first time Fox has been accused of stealing reality-show ideas. In December of 2004, ABC sued Fox for making Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy, which the alphabet claimed was a rip-off of its equally heady Wife Swap. NBC took legal action to keep boxing rink show The Next Great Champ off the air, due to similarities to the peacock's The Contender. In 2001, CBS also sued Fox, saying Boot Camp was too much like the eye's Survivor. Lastly, while Fox was never sued for Nanny 911, it bears a striking resemblance to ABC's Supernanny.