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Repo Man Says TV Chains Stole His Show

(CN) - The man who says he created and starred in the popular Spanish-language version of the TV show "Operation Repo" claims Telemundo and Turner Entertainment stole his scripts and story ideas and forced him out of a show about his own life. Luiz Pizarro says he wrote a treatment for the show in 2004, based on his family's experiences repossessing cars.

"Operacion Repo" follows Pizarro and fellow plaintiffs Sonia Pizarro Lopez, Pizarro's sister, and Lyndah Pizarro, his daughter.

The show is presented in "reality" TV format, with the Pizarros playing themselves, while actors play debtors and cops.

Pizarro says Telemundo accepted his pitch for a TV show in 2006, and began broadcasting "Operacion Repo" that fall.

From the start, Pizarro says, Telemundo executives tried to steer him away from running the show. He says Telemundo program director Fatima Congalves recommended Francisco Aguilar as a producer.

Pizarro says Aguilar and his company, Arietis, hijacked the show and paid Congalves for her recommendation. He claims that Aguilar's partner, Tariq Jalil, and Jalil's company, Intrigue, helped wrest control of "Operacion Repo" from him.

Pizarro says that Aguilar and Jalil claim that Telemundo rejected Pizarro's pitch, but that the chain later accepted their separate, yet similar pitch. And he says the pair sold the show to Turner Entertainment, though they had no authority to do so.

TruTV, a Turner Entertainment subsidiary, started broadcasting "Operation Repo," an English-language version of the show, in April 2008, Pizarro says. He says the show was the most successful program in TruTV's 2009 and 2010 lineups.

Pizarro says neither Telemundo nor Turner Entertainment ever secured any contracts with him, Lopez or Lyndah Pizarro.

Pizarro claims he is entitled to all revenue from both versions of the show, since he is the true creator and owner. And he says the defendants owe his sister and daughter $90,000 apiece for acting in the shows.

Pizarro also accuses Aguilar, Arietis, Jalil and Intrigue of stealing control over his other shows, "Dame Tinta," "Cazadores de la Noticia" and "Fugitives de la Ley."

The Pizarros are represented by Richard Charnley with Ropers Majeski Kohn and Gary Gorham with Leader Gorham.

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