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Man Claims Reality Show Swiped His Idea

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A man claims a production company and an auctioneer used his idea for a TV show documenting the search for Hollywood memorabilia to pitch and develop the show "Hollywood Treasure" for the SyFy channel.

Erik Andersen sued Joseph Maddalena, Shevick*Zupon Entertainment and Zupon Entertainment, in Superior Court.

Andersen claims he came up with the concept for a "docu-series" called "Hollywood Forgotten" in early 2009. The show would feature "a host searching for lost or forgotten props, costumes, sets, actors, etc. from Hollywood's forgotten past," according to the complaint.

Andersen claims he "registered the treatment for the show with the Writer's Guild of America" in October 2009.

He claims he "eventually shot four episodes of the show (approximately 10 to 30 minutes long each) and created preview trailers for three episodes (approximately two to four minutes long each), and posted those to his YouTube channel entitled 'Films in Focus.'"

Before posting the show online, Andersen says, he went to Profiles in History, a Calabasas auction house owned by defendant Joe Maddalena, where he spent "approximately 15 to 20 minutes pitching the show to Maddalena and discussing the episodes that had already been produced."

Andersen says in his complaint that in June 2010 Variety magazine reported 2010 that the SyFy channel was going to air a "new unscripted series ... from the recently formed production company, Shevick*Zupon Entertainment. The six-episode, one hour docu-series highlights Joe Maddalena, owner of Calabasas, CA-based Profiles in History, one of the world's largest auction companies specializing in original movie, television and pop culture collectibles. Each weekly episode follows Joe and his team as the scour the world looking for rare and highly-collectible Hollywood memorabilia."

Andersen says he "immediately suspected that defendants had used his ideas to develop a show involving the same subject matter, which was then pitched to networks."

"Hollywood Treasure" premiered on Oct. 27, 2010, the complaint states. Andersen says he never received any credit or compensation for the show.

He seeks more than $2 million in damages for breach of implied contract, slander of title and violations of the state business and professions code.

He is represented by Steven Lowe and Muammar Reed of Lowe Law.

Follow @jamierossCNS
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