June 03, 2013 7:22pm PT by Alex Ben Block
Tori Spelling Reality Show Hit With Stolen-Idea Lawsuit
Three producers have filed a $60 million lawsuit over Oxygen's 2011 reality series sTORIbook Weddings, starring Tori Spelling and husband Dean McDermott.
Denny O’Neil Jr. and Jake P. Hall, both residents of Oregon, and Charles W. Malcolm of Los Angeles filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday against Oxygen Media, Bunim-Murray Productions, World of Wonder Productions and Spelling and McDermott's production company, Life in a Bowl Productions.
The suit charges breach of implied in fact contract, breach of fiduciary duty, slander of title, false advertising, unfair business practices and more in connection with what they say was the theft of their idea.
The suit seeks more than $8.5 million on each of seven causes of action. They also want a declaration of their rights and legal fees.
The suit says the three producers registered an idea with the Writers Guild in 2007 for a show they called Wedding Rescue, in which Spelling and McDermott would become wedding planners and help couples create their dream wedding.
They say they sent a copy of their treatment to a UTA agent representing Spelling and McDermott and World of Wonder Productions. They say they also contacted an executive at Oxygen, sent their treatment and had a meeting in 2009. Later that year, they were told Oxygen was not interested.
Then on April 6, 2011, they saw the first episode of sTORIbook Weddings and eight subsequent episodes. They say it was “uncannily similar” to their Wedding Rescue idea.
The suit says they also pitched Oxygen and Bunim-Murray an idea for a reality series about a competition among tattoo artists that they called the Tattoo Star treatment.
They met with executives about it in 2009 and were later told it was not right for Oxygen. Then in March 2012, they saw a show on Oxygen made with Bunim-Murray called Best Ink, which became a hit for the network.
They charge that Best Ink has “nearly every creative element of the Tattoo Star treatment.”
There was no response late Monday to efforts to contact Oxygen Media, Bunim-Murray, World of Wonder and Spelling and McDermott’s Life in a Bowl Productions.