NBC’s New Comedy Initiative Runs Into a Hurdle

Apr 25, 2014  •  Post A Comment

A new effort at NBC aimed at strengthening the network's comedy pipeline has hit a clog. NBCUniversal was sued for trademark infringement, Deadline.com reports, with the legal issue focusing on the name of its new comedy development effort, “NBC Comedy Playground."

The idea of the effort is to offer new comedy writers a chance to pitch ideas to NBC, with two winners receiving a half-hour show next summer.

But a Los Angeles group called Comedy Playground that trains people in comedy is suing over the name.

“The harm caused by NBC’s actions to Comedy Playground and its reputation is devastating and irreversible,” the lawsuit alleges. “Even though NBC’s contest has not yet formally begun, Comedy Playground has already experienced multiple instances of actual confusion. If permitted to continue, NBC’s use of the COMEDY PLAYGROUND name and mark will deceive the public about the relationship of the parties and effectively obliterate Comedy Playground’s hard earned reputation and goodwill.”

Comedy Playground, which has used the registered name for more than a decade, is asking for unspecified damages and profits, as well as a court order of trademark infringement and a halt to NBC's use of the name.

An NBC representative had no comment.

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