LOS ANGELES (CN) – The founders of Toughlove America, a self-help program for parents and their “out-of-control” teens, say an identically named reality television show produced by MTV and Drew Barrymore would infringe on their copyright and compete with their own planned show.
Phillis and David York founded their peer-to-peer counseling program in 1979, Toughlove says. More than 25,000 people became Toughlove members when Ann Landers and Oprah Winfrey recommended the couple’s educational seminars, according to the complaint.
Toughlove planned to launch a television show based on its trademarked program, envisioning “a hybrid of the TV shows ‘Dr. Phil’ and ‘The View.'” A host and a panel of Toughlove experts would explore guests’ problems with parenting, the workplace and romantic relationships, the lawsuit says.
MTV and Barrymore allegedly plan to launch their own show, “Tough Love,” which will offer a “tough love boot camp” to women with relationship problems. The plaintiff says “Tough Love” will use the same “brutally honest,” peer-to-peer approach that their program espouses.
The plaintiff wants damaged and an injunction stopping MTV and Barrymore from airing their show, which they allegedly plan to begin running on VH1 on March 15, 2009.
Toughlove America is represented in Federal Court by William Robinson.