LOS ANGELES (CN) – A musician says NBC and “Today Show” host Kathie Lee Gifford stole his idea to write songs based on viewers’ lives and broadcast the songs and stories. Harold Johns says he, not Gifford, came up with the idea for the “Today Show” segment called “Everyone Has a Story.”
Johns says that in 2006 he came up with the idea for a “reality” TV show he called “Your Song.” Ordinary people would be paired with their favorite musicians to collaborate on a song about their life story.
Johns negotiated with production executive Howard Owens in early 2007, according to his Superior Court complaint. Johns says Owens offered him $15,000 per episode and credit as executive producer if his company ended up developing the idea. Owens later claimed that he turned down the idea, but Johns says Owens secretly sold it to NBC, where Gifford “ultimately adopted the ideas as her own,” according to the lawsuit.
Gifford then announced a new “Today Show” segment called “Everyone Has a Story.” According to Johns’ complaint, Gifford told the audience, “We decided how awesome it would be if Americans sent in their stories, and then David and I would write the song of their story and bring them here to New York and give them an opportunity to let the world know their story.”
Johns wants $3 million, and any advertising and sponsorship revenue from “Everyone Has a Story.”
He is represented by Paul Berra.