SANTA MONICA (CN) – “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller claims Fox Broadcasting and FremantleMedia North America stiffed him on promises of money and executive producer credit for the show “X Factor,” a knockoff of Fuller’s wildly popular “Idol” show.
Fuller also takes a slap at Fox’s parent, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, claiming that “recent developments (reflect) a corporate culture – if not a pattern and practice – of wrongful behavior.”
In his Superior Court complaint, Fuller says he took issue with “X Factor” when “American Idol” judge and “X Factor” creator Simon Cowell broadcast the show in England.
Fuller said the show was too similar to both of his “Idol” shows, “Pop Idol” and “American Idol.”
“Given the striking similarities to the ‘Idol’ format, Fuller and his production companies had no choice but to protect their interests by filing suit in England for copyright infringement and breach of contract,” Fuller says.
“By 2005, ‘American Idol’ was Fox’s most valuable television asset. In addition, Fox had locked up the rights to broadcast ‘X Factor’ in the United States. Fearing that Fuller’s lawsuit with Cowell could have a ruinous effect on ‘American Idol’ and other business interests, Fox interceded in the dispute and brokered a settlement that protected Fox’s ability to continue to make hundreds of millions of dollars going forward.
“In order to induce Fuller to give up his valuable claims in litigation, Fox and Fremantle Media North America, Inc. (‘Fremantle’) contractually promised that when ‘X Factor’ aired in the Untied States, Fuller would receive an executive producer credit on ‘X Factor’ and would be paid an executive producer fee for ‘X Factor’ ‘commensurate with his duties and stature in the entertainment industry.’ Fuller settled his litigation in reliance upon these promises.
“As often happens in Hollywood, however, binding promises made one day for expediency turn out to be cast aside when it comes time to perform. This is just such a case. Fox and Fremantle made hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to the creative efforts of Fuller, and wanted to be sure they would continue to reap those corporate profits going forward. So when Fuller sought to protect his legal rights in litigation, Fox and Fremantle protected their own interests by making promises to Fuller that caused him to end the litigation. Now, when it is time to finally perform on these unequivocal promises, Fox and Fremantle refuse to provide Fuller with his executive producer credit for defendants’ new television show, ‘X Factor,’ and refuse to pay Fuller an executive producer fee ‘commensurate with his duties and stature in the entertainment industry.’ Defendants’ refusal to honor their promises made to Fuller is particularly malicious given that but for Fuller’s agreement, the ‘X Factor’ show would not be able to be broadcast in the United States at all.
“Fox, and ultimately its parent company, News Corporation, have demonstrated a
Callous disregard for Fuller’s rights which, given recent developments, reflects a corporate culture – if not a pattern and practice – of wrongful behavior.
“By this complaint, Fuller simply seeks to receive what Fox and Fremantle promised to him in writing in 2005. This is the only fair and equitable result given the parties’ agreement and Fuller’s good faith reliance upon the promises made to him.”
He seeks damages for breach of contract, breach of good faith, promissory estoppel, executive producer credit, and those fees commensurate with his stature.
He is represented by Dale Kinsella with Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert.
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