Reality Producers Sue ABC, Cowell

Aug 10, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Two reality producers filed a lawsuit in Federal Court Wednesday accusing ABC and “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell of stealing their show concept for the upcoming ABC series “Million Dollar Idea.”

The lawsuit was filed by Jean Golden and Todd Walker, who are the creators and hosts of “Million Dollar Idea.” Ms. Golden and Mr. Walker allege in their suit ABC and Mr. Cowell stole “Million Dollar Idea’s” title and “each and every major concept relating to the show.” The lawsuit also calls for immediate injunctive relief and unspecified damages.

According to a press release issued by Ms. Golden and Mr. Walker, the suit “is a direct response to ABC’s July 13, 2005, announcement of a new show of the same name, ‘created’ by Cowell and ‘packaged’ by [talent agency] CAA.”

Ms. Golden and Mr. Walker argue in their suit they developed the show starting in 2001 and first broadcast “Million Dollar Idea” on KSTC-TV in Minneapolis in 2003. The pair registered for both copyright and trademark for the name and premise of “Million Dollar Idea,” and state they have sold the show into syndication on 125 stations.

The suit also alleges Mr. Walker pitched “Million Dollar Idea” to Andrea Wong, ABC’s executive VP for alternative programming, specials and late-night, in early 2004 and to CAA.

In a written statement ABC said, “We have not even been served with the complaint in this matter, so we have no comment.”