TV bosses behind Tim Roth's crime drama "Lie to Me" are facing a lawsuit over allegations the idea was copied from a pilot episode pitched to Fox network executives back in 2007. The British actor stars as a body language expert who helps criminal investigations by detecting lies in the program, which has run for three seasons since its debut in 2009.
Executives at John Gertz Productions (JGP) claim to have acquired the rights to Roderick Anscombe's 2005 novel "The Interview Room", about a psychiatrist who is an expert in detecting untruths, and turned it into a screenplay for a show called "Lie to Lie" which was offered to Fox in 2007.
The lawsuit, filed at Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges production company bosses spent three months working with chiefs at Fox on the idea, discussing "specific plot lines not only for the pilot episode, but also for subsequent episodes" before TV heads dropped the idea. They claim it was subsequently turned into "Lie to Me".
The legal papers, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, state, "Defendants falsely stated to plaintiffs that they were abandoning the project. In reality, defendants did not abandon their efforts to make The Interview Room and Lie to Lie into a television series at all - defendants just wanted to cut plaintiffs out of the deal they made."
JGP and Anscombe are suing Fox, executive Simon Andreae and Imagine Entertainment, for breach of contract and breach of confidence, according to the publication.