January 25, 2013 6:26pm PT by Alex Ben Block
Lawsuit Claims SyFy's 'Face Off' Stolen From Pitch Meeting
SyFy and owner NBC Universal were sued Friday by a production company that claims it pitched a show on make-up artists but the network took the idea and instead created the hit reality series Face Off.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges breach of implied-in-fact contract, breach of confidence, unfair competition and other charges. Read the complaint here.
The Results Group, which formerly was known as Studio City, says that in May 2009 a meeting was arranged by an agent at William Morris to pitch a make-up competition show hosted by a female actor. It centered around a $100,000 prize.
The pitch meeting with SyFy allegedly was attended by an executive from The Results Group, a producer it brought in, a consultant and its agent. After the meeting, Results Group allegedly was told the network had decided not to pursue a TV series based on its idea and materials.
When the company learned SyFy was doing a similar series, it asked for evidence the series was not copied from the pitch. In response, SyFy allegedly provided documents that said Face Off had been planned prior to the pitch meeting. When the show debuted on SyFy in January 2011, the Results executives felt what they saw was very much like what they pitched. In the first episode, contestants had to make up models to look like either a beetle, an ostrich or an elephant. The suit says that conceit was substantially similar to the show that was pitched.
The suit seeks damages to cover the lost credit and producing fees, the cost of the suit and other punitive damages to be determined by a judge. Results Group also wants any money the network made off the show.
A SyFy spokesperson says "this case is without merit and we expect to prevail in court."
The plaintiff is represented by Bryan Freedman and a team at LA's Freedman & Taitelman.