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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fox Stole TV Show, Writer & Producer Say

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Massachusetts writer and L.A.-based John Gertz Productions claim Fox TV stole their novel and screenplay and made it into a TV series called "Lie to Me," without giving them credit or payment. Roderick Anscombe claims the show is based on his novel, "The Interview Room," and Gertz's screenplay, "Lie to Lie."

Anscombe wrote the book "The Interview Room" in 2004, about a forensic psychiatrist who specializes in detecting lies and help police investigate crimes.

John Gertz Productions bought the screen rights in 2005, and turned out the screenplay "Lie to Lie," according to the Superior Court complaint.

The plaintiffs say they met with Fox in 2007 to discuss how to turn "The Interview Room" and "Lie to Lie" into a TV series. In that Sept. 18, 2007 meeting, they discussed "specific plot lines not only for the pilot episode, but also for subsequent episodes," according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs say they spent 3 months helping Fox turn the novel and screenplay into a TV series, upon which "defendants falsely stated to plaintiffs that they were abandoning the project. In reality, defendants did not abandon their efforts to make 'The Interview Room' and 'Lie to Lie' into a television series at all - defendants just wanted to cut plaintiffs out of the deal they made.

"On Jan. 21, 2009, defendants nationally broadcast the pilot episode of a television series entitled 'Lie to Me' that continues to this day. ... Not only is the title of defendants' production nearly identical to the title of plaintiffs' concept, but many of the 'Lie to Me' series' themes, plots, scenes and episodes are strikingly similar, if not identical, to the concepts that plaintiffs disclosed to defendants from June through September 2007 in exchange for defendants' obligation to compensate and credit plaintiffs," according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs seek damages for breach of contract and breach of confidence. In addition to Fox, defendants include Fox executive Simon Andreae and Imagine Entertainment.

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