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)





[05/25/17 - 11:59 AM]
Rubber Hits the Road on the New Season of CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage" Premiering Wednesday, June 28th
Celebrity guests this season include President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, Ted Koppel, Wanda Sykes, Michael Strahan, Brad Garrett, Josh Duhamel, J. B. Smoove, among others.

[05/25/17 - 10:59 AM]
History Orders Robert Zemeckis Scripted Drama Series "Blue Book"
"Blue Book" chronicles the true top secret United States Air Force-sponsored investigations into UFO-related phenomena in the 1950's and 60's known as "Project Blue Book."

[05/25/17 - 10:46 AM]
Summer Is Blazing Hot with "Teen Choice 2017" Live Sunday, August 13, on FOX
For 19 years, the special has presented performances and appearances by some of pop culture's brightest stars.

[05/25/17 - 10:30 AM]
The Avengers Return for an Action-Packed One-Hour "Marvel's Avengers: Secret Wars" Season Four Premiere on Saturday, June 17, on Disney XD
Picking up right after the events of season three "Ultron Revolution," the fourth season finds Tony Stark trapped in another dimension.

[05/25/17 - 10:04 AM]
"Legends of Chamberlain Heights" Returns for Season Two on Sunday, June 18 at 11:30 P.M. ET/PT on Comedy Central
"Legends of Chamberlain Heights" is an urban animated series mixing raucous comedy and social commentary that centers on three high school freshman basketball benchwarmers.

[05/25/17 - 10:02 AM]
HBO Renews Hit Series "Silicon Valley" and "Veep" for 2018
Both shows are returning in 2018, it was announced today by Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming.

[05/25/17 - 09:57 AM]
Ina Garten Launches "Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro" on Sunday, May 28th at 11AM ET/PT on Food Network
Each of the all-new eight episodes were shot on-location at Ina's home in East Hampton, New York.

[05/25/17 - 09:37 AM]
Video: Sneak Peaks from Netflix's "Friends from College" - Premieres July 14th
Soak up all of the immature use of mature language in four all new NSFW sneak peeks at the new Netflix original series.

[05/25/17 - 09:26 AM]
Hip-Hop. Money. Fame. Deception. Murder. All Collide in New Original Scripted Series, "Tales", Premiering Tuesday, June 27, 2017
The project is a scripted anthology series of "song stories" weaving classic and current hip-hop songs into captivating visual narratives from the lyrics of some of hip-hop's greatest hits.

[05/25/17 - 08:59 AM]
Video: All-New Hack into "Broad City!" Communication Barriers Keep Abbi & Ilana From Successfully Playing Synchronized Solitaire
Season four premieres on Wednesday, August 23 on Comedy Central.

[05/25/17 - 08:44 AM]
Bravo Media Premieres Season Three of "Odd Mom Out" on Wednesday, July 12 at 10PM ET/PT
Joining the cast this season is Christine Taylor playing Brooke's older sister, Barrett.

[05/25/17 - 08:26 AM]
Wednesday's Broadcast Ratings: "Survivor" Finale Puts CBS on Top
The Eye wins the evening in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[05/25/17 - 08:22 AM]
Travel Channel Names 10 of the Newest Extreme Waterslides to Ride this Weekend
These awesome aquatic adventures are just the beginning of the fun in Travel Channel's new season of "Xtreme Waterparks," premiering on Sunday, June 4.

[05/25/17 - 07:31 AM]
"Andi Mack" Has Been Ordered for Second Season on Disney Channel
The series ranks as the #1 TV series of 2017 to-date among Girls 6-11, Girls 9-14 and Girls 6-14.

[05/25/17 - 07:04 AM]
Video: EPIX Releases First Trailer for "Get Shorty"
The series is based in part on the 1990 Elmore Leonard novel of the same name.