LOS ANGLES (CN) – Former “Dancing With the Stars” contender Kyle Massey has filed a federal complaint demanding credit for the new Lifetime reality show starring Bristol Palin.
“Bristol Palin: Life’s A Tripp” debuted on the A&E-owned Lifetime network this week. The show follows 21-year-old Palin and her son, Tripp, adjusting to life in Alaska after a brief foray into Hollywood, which peaked with her stint with Massey on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2010.
Last year, Palin, Massey and his brother Christopher were set to star in a different reality show, “Helping Hands,” on A&E’s Bio channel.
Before fancy footwork earned 20-year-old Kyle Massey the runner’s up slot on “Dancing With the Stars,” the former child star was best known for his work on Disney Channel shows like “That’s So Raven.” His brother Christopher Massey, 22, starred on Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101.”
Bio quickly shelved “Helping Hands,” which the Masseys say was based upon their copyrighted idea “Bristol-ogy 101.”
Along with their mother and manager, Angel Massey, and their companies, Massey Enterprise International and Boy-O-Boy Entertainment, they filed suit against Associated Television International, Helping Hands LLC and the man behind both companies David Stanton aka David McKenzie.
Palin, Lifetime and A&E are not parties to the Massey’s lawsuit in the Central District of California.
“The series is substantially identical and, at best, a derivative work of ‘Helping Hands,’ which is based on an original copyrighted series owned and registered to plaintiffs, entitled ‘Bristol-ogy 101,'” the lawsuit states.
Though the Masseys say they originally pitched the idea of a show revolving around Palin and her son to Stanton, the executive allegedly dismissed the idea as “silly.”
When Stanton cast them and Palin in “Helping Hands” last summer, he offered them $25,000 per episode plus 100 percent of royalties for music they produced for the series, according to the complaint.
Angel Massey, the mother, was also allegedly attached as an executive producer on a $10,000-per-episode contract and reserved copyright to the series.
The Masseys say they hammered out that deal because of early concerns that Stanton would misappropriate “Bristol-ogy 101” after A&E got on board.
Shooting for “Helping Hands” began in summer 2011, following Palin, Tripp and the Massey brothers, who all shared a house in Los Angeles, according to the complaint.
But the Masseys say Stanton quickly told them that A&E had placed the project on hiatus, kicked them out of the house and continued filming Palin.
Stanton also asked the Masseys to modify the terms of their contracts and then suspended the agreements after they refused to yield, according to the complaint.
“Defendants are now attempting to steal the series by editing and airing prior footage and excluding plaintiffs, thus, depriving plaintiffs of their agreed-upon fees, credit, and residual income,” the complaint states. (2)
The Masseys seek an injunction and punitive damages for copyright infringement, fraud, breach of contract, bad faith and other charges. They are represented by Courtney Coates of Temecula, Calif.
Neither Coates nor Stanton immediately responded to requests for comment.
This is the second lawsuit related to Palin’s Lifetime show in as many weeks. Last week, a man claimed that Palin defamed him by telling In Touch magazine that he “accosted” her in a bar. He also claimed that A&E impermissibly used footage of this argument to promote the Lifetime program.