AceShowbiz - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mark Wahlberg are sued for allegedly stealing the idea for HBO's series "Ballers". Two writers, Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton, claim that the series' plot is too similar to a project they pitched called "Off Season".
HBO and executive producer Stephen Levinson are also named in the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, December 17 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. In the lawsuit, Silas and Littleton claim they talked to producers Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray about the unmade project in 2009.
They say Ciardi and Gray gave a copy of a trailer, treatment and screenplay to Johnson and Wahlberg who were eyed to take the lead roles, but the deal fell apart because they were denied a "Created By" credit.
Pointing out the similarities, Silas and Littleton say both shows are set in Miami, revolve around the lives of football players on and off the field, and feature main characters who are African-American. They further allege that the show's title "Ballers" was also the name of one of their episodes. The plaintiffs, who claim copyright infringement, seek an unspecified amount in damages.
Responding to the lawsuit, a spokesman for HBO says, "We are confident the case has no merit."
"Ballers", which debuted in June, stars Johnson in the lead role of a retired NFL player turned sports agent. He and Wahlberg are also credited as executive producers.