DALLAS (CN) – Three TV producers say former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin swiped their idea for a football reality show that pits twelve aspiring professional football players – six defensive backs and six wide receivers – against each other, and renamed it “Fourth and Long.”
Premiering on Spike TV on May 18, the show puts the two groups against each other in a series of weekly drills and competitions. It is hosted and co-produced by Irvin.
The competition is overseen by former Dallas Cowboys coach Joe Avezzano and former Cowboy player Bill Bates. Competitors are eliminated until just one remains. The winner is to receive a spot on this year’s Cowboys training camp roster.
In the complaint in Dallas County Court, Jordan Bealmear, Shannon Clark and Christopher Harding say they created the idea for a football-based reality show called “Guts to Glory.” The concept involved an open tryout for a position on a professional football team that was to be hosted by a well-known former NFL player. They say Irvin was one of many players considered for the role and that they pitched the show to him and Kraig Brooks, Irvin’s agent, on Aug. 12, 2007.
The plaintiffs say that in September 2007, Irvin was sent a memorandum of agreement in which he and his agent agreed to accept 25 percent of the executive producing fee, with the plaintiffs receiving the rest – but he did not sign.
Months later, the plaintiffs say, they sent Irvin a detailed marketing package with storyboards and poster materials for a presentation Irvin made to Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones that resulted in the team’s involvement with the show.
“Claiming that Jones would not be likely to give approval to a television show with any names unfamiliar to him, Brooks and Irvin insisted that plaintiffs Bealmear, Clark and Harding be removed from, among other places, the title page as ‘creators,'” the plaintiffs say.
By January 2008, the parties agreed to Irvin’s getting 75 percent of the executive producing fee, with any fees for additional adaptations of the show for other sports to be split 50-50. But in March 2008, Irvin allegedly reneged on that and refused to come to turns unless he received 95 percent of the fees. The plaintiffs say he then denied ever using their storyboards in his presentations to Jones and has not complied with demands for the return of the materials.
The plaintiffs seek damages for fraud, fraudulent nondisclosure and breach of contract. They are represented by Mark Taylor with Cash Powers Taylor.