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The British creator of the hugely successful "Idol" franchise, Simon Fuller, is suing the Fox Broadcasting Company over Simon Cowell's soon-to-be-launched "The X Factor."
According to court papers obtained by ET, Fuller's suit -- filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court -- alleges that Fox reneged on a deal that would have given him an executive producer credit as well as the lucrative fees associated with that role relating to the U.S. version of "The X Factor," due to premiere this fall on Fox.
The lawsuit states that the granting of Fuller's executive producer credit came about as part of a settlement in a previous copyright infringement case filed by Fuller against "X Factor" creator Cowell, when the show first launched in the UK. The basis of the copyright infringement lawsuit alleges that "X Factor" was a blatant rip-off of Britain's "Pop Idol," which was later launched as "American Idol" in the U.S. with Simon Cowell as the lead judge.
The dispute, according to the court papers, between the two Simons threatened to derail "American Idol," the country's No. 1 show. Fuller also alleges Fox helped broker a 2005 settlement of the litigation that kept Cowell on "Idol" for five seasons and gave him a bigger stake in the franchise in exchange for keeping "X Factor" off the U.S. airwaves until 2011. The current lawsuit states that Fuller agreed to pull "Pop Idol" off the air in the U.K. and became entitled to the executive producer credit and fee for "X Factor" if the show ever came to the United States. Fremantle North America produces "American Idol" and "The X Factor."
The court papers are quoted as saying: "Fox and Fremantle made hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to the creative efforts of Fuller... Now, when it is time to finally perform on these unequivocal promises, Fox and Fremantle refuse to provide Fuller his executive producer credit for Defendants' new television show, 'The X Factor,' and refuse to pay Fuller an executive producer fee 'commensurate with his duties and stature in the entertainment industry.'"