Radar Entertainment has filed suit against Warner Bros./Telepictures over an idea for a celebrity judge show Radar claims it pitched to the programmer/distributor.
In the suit, filed Nov. 14 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Radar says Warner Bros. is developing a show similar to Radar's own show, Jury Duty, a court series featuring small claims cases adjudicated by celebrities.
Radar says it pitched the show to the companies in 2004 with the understanding that it would be compensated if the idea was used and that the idea would not be disclosed to others without their consent.
Now, they say, Warner Bros. is developing a similar show and has not contacted Radar or compensated it for the "blatant use of material elements" of their show, including that it will feature small claims cases adjudicated by a jury of celebrities.
Radar is looking for punitive damages considering that Warner Bros. production of a show identical to theirs will make it tough for them to distribute theirs.
Such suits are not unusual in Hollywood, where show ideas are always being floated and bounced around.
American Idol producers were sued several years back by a man who claimed he had originally pitched the idea to them. The judge said that since the man had not taken any legal measures to establish his custody of the idea, he was essentially out of luck.
Radar says it registered a treatment for Jury Duty with the Writers Guild of America West in April 2004 and produced a pilot three months later featuring defense attorney Bruce Cutler. Radar says Cutler was approached by Warner Bros./Telepictures about starring in their series.
He decided to stick with Radar, says the company, but it cost them more to sign him and they will have to pay him more, they say.
Warner Bros. does not comment on pending litigation.