FOX is entangled in a legal battle just when it is about to launch "The X Factor (US)". Simon Fuller is suing the network and FremantleMedia for breaching a contract over the new singing competition show, which allegedly obliges them to recognize Fuller as an executive producer and give him fee on the American version of "The X Factor".
The tension dates back to 2004 when Simon Cowell launched "The X Factor" in England, three years after Fuller debuted "Pop Idol" in the same country. At that time, Fuller accused Cowell of copying his "Idol" format. According to the executive producer of "American Idol", FOX and Fremantle helped settle the case by promising him an executive producer credit on the American "X Factor".
In the complaint filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, July 20, Fuller claims the network and the production company reneged on the deal. "Despite the clear agreement to grant Fuller an executive producer credit and to pay him an executive producer fee, defendants have refused to honor their obligations and have further refused to negotiate in good faith," the lawsuit mentions.
FOX and Fremantle, however, call Fuller's lawsuit "without merit". They say in a statement, "Mr. Fuller has not been hired, nor performed any duties, on the U.S. version of 'The X Factor'. His suit seeks payment and credit as an executive producer despite his neither having been approved by the required parties, nor hired, as such. We believe this lawsuit is without merit and we expect to prevail."
Fuller's attorney, Dale Kinsella, later fires back at the two companies. "FOX's position that Fuller's claim lacks merit because the parties have not 'approved' him as executive producer is absurd," so the lawyer writes in a statement.
"It is precisely because FOX was contractually obligated to approve Fuller as executive producer and has breached that obligation that the case was filed. FOX appears to be admitting early on that they have breached the agreement."
The suit seeks damages for causes of action including breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel and declaratory relief. An initial hearing is scheduled for November 7 in Santa Monica, California.