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Saturday, March 2, 2024 | Back issues
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Syfy Accused of Making Copycat Show

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A television producer sued Syfy Media, claiming the cable channel ripped off its concept, and even the name, for a reality show that pits special effects make-up artists against each other.

The Results Group sued Syfy Media Productions and NBC Universal Media, in Superior Court, alleging breach of implied-in-fact contract, breach of confidence, promissory estoppel, and unfair competition.

Results Group, owned by nonparty Ray Doustdar, is successor in interest to nonparty Studio City.

The Results Group claims it collaborated with Studio City's development division to pitch a proposal for a reality show called "Face Off" in May 2009.

The companies pitched three Syfy executives using written documents, graphics and a video presentation, according to the complaint.

Syfy declined the project, but later announced a reality series based on the same concept and title, the producer claims.

Results Group claims that Syfy told it that the series had been in the works before the May 2009 pitch meeting, and that another company (nonparty) Mission Control Media had "independently conceived and proposed the title 'Face Off.'"

"After several episodes of the television series aired on The Syfy Network, plaintiffs realized the falsity of defendants' prior representations, that they had not copied the 'Face Off' pitch materials and that Mission Control had independently developed their proposed television series. In other words, defendants had concealed the true facts from Studio City and Results Group such that the statute of limitations was tolled during the period of concealment," the complaint states.

Results claims that Syfy lifted several elements from the pitch meeting. Both show and pitch feature a female host, a three-judge panel of special make-up artists, virtually identical challenges, and a $100,000 prize, according to the complaint.

Results seeks the value of Studio City's lost credit and lost compensation as a producer, and disgorgement of Syfy's earnings.

It is represented by Bryan Freedman of Freedman & Taitelman.

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