or


[12/15/04 - 12:00 AM]
Rdf Media Sues FOX Over Ripoff of Acclaimed 'Wife Swap' Reality-TV Series

[via press release from RDF Media]

RDF Media Sues Fox Over Ripoff of Acclaimed 'Wife Swap' Reality-TV Series

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15 -- RDF Media, one of Britain's leading independent television production companies, charged in a lawsuit filed today that Fox Broadcasting Company and Rocket Science Laboratories, LLC ripped off RDF's original, innovative and highly successful "Wife Swap" reality television series to create their own competing show, "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy."

The complaint, filed by prominent entertainment litigator Stanton L. (Larry) Stein of Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan LLP, charges Fox and Rocket Science, which jointly produce "Trading Spouses," with both copyright and trade dress infringement, as well as unfair competition. It claims they attempted to capitalize on the success of RDF's "Wife Swap" by willfully and illegally developing a show -- "Trading Spouses" -- that incorporated all of the expressive elements and trade dress of "Wife Swap," versions of which have aired on British television since January 2003 and in the U.S. on the ABC-TV network since September 2004.

"In our view, this is the most clear-cut case of copyright theft in the history of the reality genre," said RDF Director of Programs Stephen Lambert, the creator and executive producer of "Wife Swap." "It has been widely reported that Fox has long pursued a strategy of ripping off other people's intellectual property. RDF intends to take full advantage of the law to put a stop to it."

According to the lawsuit, Peter Chernin, the president and chief operating officer of Fox Broadcasting's parent company, News Corp., told Fox executives in 2003 that he had seen the British version of "Wife Swap" during a visit to London and that "it was the show everyone was talking about in the United Kingdom." After discovering that ABC had acquired the U.S. rights to the show, the suit alleges, Fox and Rocket Science executives decided to copy its format and trade dress in order to "to confuse viewers and mislead them into watching 'Trading Spouses' rather than 'Wife Swap US.'" Indeed, at the annual meeting of the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles last July, Fox entertainment president Gail Berman acknowledged that Fox specifically "decided to develop a show similar to ['Wife Swap']."

The suit notes that Fox's "Trading Spouses" has a premise and format virtually identical to those of "Wife Swap," including the cast of characters, the structure of each airing of a complete swap, the sequence of events, the plot, the tone, the theme, the pace, the scene set-ups, the narration, the dialogue that arises from constructed situations, the contrasting settings, the structured before-and-after dialogue, the topics explored, the dramatic and comedic effect created by music, the introductory segment, and even the opening graphics.

In both "Wife Swap" and "Trading Spouses," two wives with contrasting values and lifestyles exchange spouses and families for a period of seven and ten days. During the first half of the trade, each wife must abide by the rules of the departing wife covering all aspects of household management, from chore delegation to budgeting, from food preparation to child discipline. During the second half of the trade, each wife imposes her own rules on her new household. At the end of the swap, the two wives meet for the first time and share what they have learned about themselves, their spouses, and each other during the swap.

In its debut season on ABC, "Wife Swap" has established itself as the most popular new reality series on primetime television. It has attracted nearly 12 million viewers overall, and in the key 18-49 year old demographic it has frequently beaten NBC's previously unassailable drama, "Law & Order." The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time magazine and Entertainment Weekly have all hailed it as the best new reality series of the year, and it has been nominated for a People's Choice award for outstanding reality programming.

In its nearly two-year run on British television, the UK version of "Wife Swap" has garnered numerous national and international accolades including the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Features & Factual Entertainment Programme and a Golden Rose in the reality category at the Rose d'Or Television Festival, Europe's premier television awards.

SOURCE RDF Media





  [december 2004]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
   


· LAW & ORDER (NBC)
· TRADING SPOUSES: MEET YOUR NEW MOMMY (FOX)
· WIFE SWAP (ABC)





[09/02/15 - 02:58 PM]
"Live with Kelly and Michael" Kicks Off Its 28th Season on September 8, 2015 with a Line-Up of Top Talent
From September 8-11, Ripa and Strahan will be challenged to "put their money where their mouth is" as they take on experiences that they've talked about on the show.

[09/02/15 - 02:57 PM]
The Official "Shark Tank" Companion Series, "Beyond the Tank," Returns for a 4-Week Event Beginning Tuesday, September 29 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC
The one-hour episodes of "Beyond the Tank" will feature the captivating and surprising outcomes after the Sharks strike a deal with the Entrepreneurs on "Shark Tank."

[09/02/15 - 02:04 PM]
Bill Wolff Named Executive Producer of Chelsea Handler's New Series on Netflix
The new talk show will feature an updated format that encompasses Chelsea's unfiltered opinions on topical entertainment and cultural issues, as well as her signature guest interviews.

[09/02/15 - 02:00 PM]
Disney Channel to Air a Special "Girl Meets World" Episode About Asperger's Syndrome on Friday, September 11
Three experts consulted on the episode to help deliver an authentic storyline that can spark conversation among kids and their families.

[09/02/15 - 01:54 PM]
Adult Swim Hits the Road with the 2015 Adult Swim Drive-In
The six-week, 15-city national tour will kick off September 17 providing fans the opportunity to screen all-new content like unaired episodes of current Adult Swim series, never-before-seen pilots and specials, and more favorites from Williams Street.

[09/02/15 - 01:15 PM]
Summer Was Hot on WE tv - Network Bucked Industry Trends to Grow Ratings More Than 30 Percent in Key Demos, Year-Over-Year
WE tv spins the numbers for the summer to date.

[09/02/15 - 01:15 PM]
Starz Hits a Three-Pointer with Third Season Renewal for Hit Comedy Series "Survivor's Remorse"
Mike O'Malley has signed on again to serve as executive producer and showrunner.

[09/02/15 - 01:13 PM]
Glenn Morshower Joins "Supergirl" Cast as General Sam Lane
Upon his arrival in National City, this stern military man will recruit Supergirl to help execute a top-tier government mission.

[09/02/15 - 01:10 PM]
2015 "MTV Video Music Awards" Generates More Than 73 Million Views Across Platforms
MTV further spins the numbers for Sunday, August 30.

[09/02/15 - 12:47 PM]
Hallmark Channel Introduces Its Newest Tradition, "Fall Harvest," With Four All New Original Premieres Every Saturday Night in October
Just in time for Halloween, the programming event presents a special two-hour sneak peek of "Good Witch" season two on Saturday, October 24.

[09/02/15 - 12:37 PM]
truTV Announces Additional Celebrity Guests for "Funny Or Die's Billy on the Street"
A 90 second sneak peek of the upcoming season will premiere during the "Impractical Jokers Live Punishment Special," set to air Thursday, September 3.

[09/02/15 - 12:31 PM]
New Jersey Educator to Star in DIY Network's Popular "American Rehab" Series
The series follows Shalina Joy, a Newark educator and veteran house flipper, as she tackles her largest renovation yet - restoring a 6000 sq. ft. 19th century Victorian mansion to its former glory.

[09/02/15 - 12:09 PM]
Velocity Greenlights Season Three of Top Car Culture Series "Americarna," Hosted by NASCAR Legend Ray Evernham
Evernham has given viewers unprecedented access to our nation's fascinating cultural history through the scope of its greatest invention: the automobile.

[09/02/15 - 11:53 AM]
OWN Delivers Double-Digit Growth in Key W25-54 Demo and Total Viewers in August 2015
OWN spins the numbers for the month of August.

[09/02/15 - 11:41 AM]
Lifetime Posts Double Digit Year-on-Year Growth in Key Demos for August
Lifetime spins the numbers for the month of August.