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 (CMT)





[12/12/18 - 12:29 PM]
TLC's Weight Transformation Lineup Returns in the New Year with Premieres of "My 600-lb Life" and "Family by the Ton"
Look for both series back-to-back starting Wednesday, January 2 at 8:00/7:00c.

[12/12/18 - 12:19 PM]
Oxygen to Debut Two-Hour Documentary "Dirty John, The Dirty Truth" on Monday, January 14 at 8 PM ET/PT
Bravo Media's scripted anthology "Dirty John" wraps its freshman run the previous night, Sunday, January 13.

[12/12/18 - 12:16 PM]
HGTV's Ben and Erin Napier Reimagine Old Properties for New Residents in Third Season of "Home Town"
"I think people don't always see the beauty and magic in historic properties," said Ben. "Erin and I want all of the houses in Laurel to shine."

[12/12/18 - 12:01 PM]
Spike Lee Teams Up with NYU Proteges for Time Travel Feature for Netflix
"See You Yesterday" centers on two Brooklyn teenage science prodigies, Claudette "C.J." Walker and Sebastian J. Thomas, who build make-shift time machines to save C.J.'s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.

[12/12/18 - 12:01 PM]
Pedro Pascal Leads a Most Impressive Cast in "The Mandalorian," The First Ever Live-Action "Star Wars" Series, Coming to Disney+
He is officially joined by Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, and Nick Nolte.

[12/12/18 - 11:30 AM]
ABC Announces Premiere Dates for New Series "The Fix," "Grand Hotel," "Whiskey Cavalier" and Returning Shows "American Idol," "Match Game" and "For the People"
Plus: "A Million Little Things" moves to Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c starting January 17.

[12/12/18 - 11:16 AM]
Season Two of "Milo Murphy's Law," Starring Al Yankovic, Debuts with a "Phineas and Ferb" Hour-Long Crossover Special Saturday, Jan. 5, on Disney Channel and Disney XD
Both series hail from acclaimed animation producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, who will reprise their "Phineas and Ferb" roles as Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Major Monogram.

[12/12/18 - 11:00 AM]
Starring Mahershala Ali and Created by Nic Pizzolatto, "True Detective" Returns for Third Season Jan. 13, Exclusively on HBO
The series returns for its eight-episode third season with two episodes debuting back-to-back.

[12/12/18 - 09:01 AM]
The Forces Behind "End of the F***ing World" & "Stranger Things" Unite for "I Am Not Okay with This"
The latest Netflix original series is based on Charles Forsman's graphic novel of the same name.

[12/12/18 - 08:45 AM]
"Everything's Gonna Be Okay," From Critically Acclaimed Writer and Comedian Josh Thomas, Picked Up to Series by Freeform
The half-hour comedy introduces Nicholas (Josh Thomas), a neurotic 25-year-old still living at home with his single dad and two teenage half-sisters, one of which has autism.

[12/12/18 - 08:38 AM]
Video: "Trigger Warning with Killer Mike" - Teaser - Netflix
"'Trigger Warning' is about examining cultural taboos and giving viewers the space to examine the 'what ifs' and 'why nots' that limit how some people move and operate in the world," said Michael Render, pka Killer Mike.

[12/12/18 - 08:33 AM]
Reelz Kicks Off Winter 2019 Slate with a Return to the 1970s with New Specials, New Series and Returning Series
New series include "I Lived with a Killer," "Famous Fortune Fights," and "Notorious."

[12/12/18 - 08:12 AM]
"Lip Sync Battle" Season 5 Premieres January 17 at 9pm ET/PT on Paramount Network
On tap this season are Queer Eye's Fab 5, Andy Roddick, Brooklyn Decker, Darren Criss, Big Bird, and Vanessa Morgan with special appearances by Mariah Carey, Serena Williams.

[12/12/18 - 08:10 AM]
Tuesday's Broadcast Ratings: Fall Finales Put CBS on Top in Viewers, Demos
"NCIS" is the night's most-watched program overall while NBC's "The Voice," ABC's "The Conners" top adults 18-49.

[12/12/18 - 08:03 AM]
Video: "7 Days Out" - Official Trailer - Netflix
A behind-the-scenes look at the most iconic cultural events in fashion, sports, food, gaming, and space.