Fox Wins Decision

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In the battle to debut boxing reality shows, Fox leads on at least one judge's card. A California Judge ruled Friday that blocking Fox's boxing reality show, The Next Great Champ, would impinge on its First Amendment rights.

That paves the way for its debut Sept. 7.

Contender Partners, a joint venture between Mark Burnett Productions and DreamWorks Television, has a similar show slated for a November launch. It sued Fox, Endemol USA and Lock and Key Productions to try and block the production. The judge had split the decision into two parts, holding a hearing on the First Amendment question Aug. 27 and scheduling a hearing for Sept. 7 on the allegation that Fox & Co. violated state boxing laws. That hearing is now moot, though there could be a boxing commission hearing in late September on the issue.

Fox said of the victory: "Despite the Contender Partners’ aggressive and outrageous attempts to keep The Next Great Champ from airing, we are elated that the series will premiere Tuesday, September 7, at 9 o’clock.

"We are grateful the court clearly recognized that this action constituted an improper prior restraint which would have inappropriately infringed upon our First Amendment rights.  Now that the court has confirmed Fox's right to broadcast our show, we are seeking to have the entire action dismissed, and will ask the court to order the Contender Partners to pay all of Fox's legal costs in connection with this meritless lawsuit."

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