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Pop men in reality TV ‘rip off’ row

15 September 2004

Pop biz supremos Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell are set for an IP tussle in court, states MSNBC.

Fuller, the UK svengali who launched the Spice Girls, Pop Idol and American Idol, issued legal proceedings against Simon Cowell late last week, claiming that he had stolen the Pop Idol format by creating a reality TV show that was its "carbon copy."

Cowell’s production company, Fremantle Media, designed the show, ‘X Factor’, as a pop music talent search program destined for a prime Saturday evening slot on one of the main UK TV stations, ITV1.

Cowell, 44, had been featured as a judge on both Pop Idol and American Idol, minting £45 million in the process, and has been widely seen as Fuller’s protégé.

Idol’s format has been sold to 22 countries and has generated over 500 million votes from the public. The battle is the latest in a number of legal disputes on both sides of the Atlantic over the reality-TV genre that has generated billions in revenues for TV producers, broadcasters and record companies.

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