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In true clash of the titans format, it was announced today that American Idol creator Simon Fuller is having a hissy fit and is suing Fox over The X Factor. Fuller believes he is entitled to a hefty sum of money regarding the show, which will be run by American Idol ex-host Simon Cowell. The lawsuit is directly against Fox and Freemantle, but really goes into some deep roots that stretch back to the early Idol days.
To get to the bottom of where this lawsuit began and where it is headed, we need to pull some H.G. Wells shit and hop back to 2004. In 2004 American Idol was the hottest commodity around-- then Simon Cowell launched The X Factor in the U.K. Once it was clear Cowell planned to bring the show to the U.S., Fuller promptly sued Cowell, stating The X Factor was too similar to American Idol. At the end of the day, it was decided Fuller’s Pop Idol would be pulled from U.K. airwaves and Cowell’s The X Factor would not move to the U.S. market until 2011. In addition, Fuller was to receive a fee and executive producer credit on The X Factor.
According to THR, who obtained the litigation from the Los Angeles Superior Court regarding the lawsuit, it is Fox and Freemantle, not Cowell, who are refusing to keep the earlier agreement. The lawsuit states:
"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.' Defendants refusal to honor their promises made to Fuller is particularly malicious given that but for Fuller's agreement, the The X Factor show would not be able to broadcast in the United States at all."
If you actually made it through that entire quote, I hope you called bullshit on that last sentence. Really, if Fuller hadn’t sued, The X Factor would have been in the States years ago. The whole suit is less about the money and more about Fuller being pissed Idol’s time might be up. Really, if he had bothered to get his friend Cowell into the money-making rather than just hosting business on Idol, X Factor may never have been created in the first place. In any event, American Idol has had a great run and even a revitalized format least season. It could relevant for years, still. But with The X Factor looming on the horizon and NBC’s The Voice already pulling in a prominent number of viewers, it might be the right time for America to switch allegiances.
It’s been six years since the lawsuit that kept The X Factor out of the States. Cowell was pissed then, and Fuller is upset now. However, Fuller had to have known what was coming. If he is entitled to money and executive producer credit, fine. But let’s not turn this into a singing competition brouhaha that just ends up bringing about further rancor on both sides. It’s not personal, it’s just pathetic.