Just the other day, we reported the producers of Death At A Funeral had been accused of making a moderately funny comedy (twice!) using someone else’s idea. Today, The Hollywood Reporter reports that the USA Network has been accused of stealing the idea for Royal Pains, one of the most-watched cable television shows starring Mark Feurerstein, from Hayden Christensen.
The former Anakin Skywalker, his brother Tove, and Forest Park Pictures filed a lawsuit in New York on Tuesday alleging that they met with Alex Pepiol, who was manager of original scripted series programming for USA Network at the time, and pitched them their idea about a concierge doctor in Malibu who makes house calls to the rich and famous—under the name Housecall. (USA's Royal Pains is about an E.R. doctor who moves to the Hamptons to make house calls on the rich and famous after being wrongfully blamed for an important patient’s death.) The Christensens' complaint argues that "it was understood" that they were pitching said ideas with the intent of selling them and/or being employed in the production of such a series with the network. They insist they were never informed that any similar series was in development at the time.
Their lawsuit asserts breach of implied contract, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment, but does not include copyright infringement. The Christensen brothers are looking for a portion of profits from the series, as well as damages which their complaint insists are “in the millions of dollars.” The brothers’ evidence against USA Network reportedly includes a treatment, character biographies, and show ideas they sent to Pepiol following their pitch meeting—and they've highlighted similar characters, concepts, and storylines from Royal Pains that they claim were stolen from their Housecall treatment. USA has yet to comment.
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