Simon Fuller, the creator of “American Idol,” sued Fox Broadcasting Co. alleging that it failed to make good on a 2005 promise to pay him executive producer fees for the “X-Factor” TV talent show.
Fox “contractually promised” Fuller that when “X- Factor” aired in the U.S. it would give him executive producer credit and fees “commensurate with his duties and stature in the entertainment industry” to end a copyright-infringement lawsuit Fuller filed in England over the show, a British program with striking similarities to “American Idol,” according to a complaint filed today in state court in Los Angeles.
News Corp. (NWSA)’s Fox and television company FreemantleMedia North America have made hundreds of millions of dollars on the show and have refused to pay Fuller, according to the complaint.
“Mr. Fuller has prudently attempted to settle this matter privately, but the other parties have refused to honor the original contract, leaving him no other choice but to pursue legal action,” Kelly Mullens, Fuller’s spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.
Fox says it doesn’t owe Fuller anything.
“Mr. Fuller has not been hired, nor performed any duties, on the U.S. version of ‘The X-Factor,’” Fox and FreemantleMedia said in an e-mail. “His suit seeks payment and credit as an executive producer despite his neither having been approved by the required parties, nor hired, as such. We believe this lawsuit is without merit and we expect to prevail.”
Dale Kinsella, Fuller’s attorney, said Fox’s position is “absurd” because the company is “contractually obligated” to approve Fuller and compensate him.
“It is because of the breach of the 2005 binding agreement that the case was filed,” Kinsella said in an e-mailed statement.
The case is Fuller v. Fox Broadcasting, SC113449, California Superior Court (Los Angeles).