Syfy, NBCUniversal Hit With Lawsuit

Jan 28, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Syfy and parent NBCUniversal have been sued by a production company that alleges the network stole its idea for a makeup competition show, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq.

The Syfy series, "Face Off," premiered its fourth season on the cable channel Jan. 15.

Results Group, formerly known as Studio City, claims that in May 2009 it pitched Syfy a makeup competition hosted by an actress, with a $100,000 prize. It allegedly was told that the network had decided not to pursue a show based on the idea.

After learning of Syfy’s “Face Off” project, Results asked for evidence the show wasn’t copied from its pitch. The network provided documents that said "Face Off" had been in planning from before the meeting with Results.

"When the show debuted on SyFy in January 2011, the Results executives felt what they saw was very much like what they pitched. In the first episode, contestants had to make up models to look like either a beetle, an ostrich or an elephant. The suit says that conceit was substantially similar to the show that was pitched," the story notes.

The lawsuit seeks damages for the lost credit and producing fees, the cost of the lawsuit and punitive damages, as well as any money made from the program. A Syfy representative called the case "without merit." 


    “A FACE OFF over FACE OFF”
    I am a friend of the program, and I wanted to give you guys some additional deets related to this lawsuit and also there needs to be some corrections to this story the way you printed. First of all, The Results Group was not previously known as Studio City, so that was written in error. They are separate companies. Results Group has the rights to the project.
    What makes this story more interesting, and hasn’t been reported yet, is that the meeting with SyFy was arranged by then William Morris Agent Chris Newman. The same William Morris Agent Chris Newman, turns out also ends up representing Mission Control Media (check IMDB, it’s true). Mission Control Media had also just finished producing for SyFy video game competition show The Ultimate Gamer, so obviously they had a good working relationship there. NBC / SYFY claims Mission Control Media independently developed the show before the Results Group pitch to Syfy.
    So here is my question… wait for it, wait for it: If Mission Control had already pitched this EXACT SAME show idea, with the EXACT SAME title, to the EXACT SAME SyFy execs – why on earth would the EXACT SAME Agent Chris Newman set up the EXACT SAME pitch meeting to pitch this? Secondly, why would SyFy execs take the EXACT SAME pitch meeting, especially considering that Mission Control Media was an existing production company partner whom I am sure they enjoyed working with?
    Why would they not say: “Hey Chris, I’m not sure if you hit your head and lost your memory, but didn’t you just bring Mission Control Media in to pitch this EXACT SAME THING? Didn’t we just do this with a trusted partner? Why would we take this meeting with these guys that we have never worked with before for the EXACT SAME thing? You are their Agent as well remember. Now you are bringing in The Results Group to pitch FACE OFF?”
    Now let’s assume for some god forsaken reason, everyone had a case of temporary amnesia, and the meeting happened anyway. After showing a well produced and detailed 5 minute sales tape with specific challenges, format, and very loud graphics with the proposed title FACE OFF, why would the SyFY execs not say, “Uh… um, well, hey Guys, I know you put a ton of work into this, but Chris, don’t you remember you brought Mission Control Media in last week and you pitched us this EXACT SAME same idea with the exact same title?”
    As you can see, the word EXACT is in ALL CAPS, and in my opinion, appears EXACTLY to many times! If it walks like a duck, and does commercials for Aflac Insurance, I am pretty sure it’s a duck.
    I thought you would be interested to know this. I’m sure your readers will be.
    Yours Truly,
    Phil Connors

  2. SyFy & Universal are well known creative thieves. In an industry full of plagiarists, these two entities are in an elite division.

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