Judge Cooks up Copyright Win for 'Rachael Ray' Producers

« Quiz: How To Spot A Celebrity Name Change | Main | LucasFilm: Force Is Not With 'Star Wars' Auction »

Judge Cooks up Copyright Win for 'Rachael Ray' Producers

Sun Jan 13, 2008 @ 07:29PM PST

Posted by Matthew Heller

Rachaelray The alleged similarities between the pitch for a TV cooking show called "Showbiz Chefs" and the syndicated talk show hosted by celebrity chef Rachael Ray are not a recipe for a copyright infringment case, a Los Angeles judge has ruled.

The generic talk-show format is not protectable, U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins said, and any similarities between "Showbiz Chefs" and the CBS-produced "Rachael Ray" are "'scenes a faire' that naturally flow from the interview and talk-show format ... Cooking segments may individualize the talk-show structure somewhat, but they still represent the outgrowth of the generic talk show, especially when the host can, in fact, cook."

The ruling granted a motion to dismiss a suit filed by Jeffrey Zella and Ross Crystal, who pitched the idea for "Showbiz Chefs" to the Food Network in 2001. Their treatment envisioned a "a 30-minute interview/cooking show featuring celebrities cooking their favorite dishes in their own kitchens." They alleged that episodes of "Rachael Ray" featuring such celebrities as President Clinton and Oprah Winfrey violated the copyright on their treatment.

Collins also found that the "relaxed, fun mood" of the two shows was "merely another example of 'scenes a faire'" and therefore not protectable even though it may be substantially similar. "[I]ndeed, it is difficult to imagine a somber show of this nature," she said in a wry aside.

Marcia Harris and Frieda Taylor of Dreier Stein & Kahan in Santa Monica represented the plaintiffs, while Lee Brenner, Tami Kameda and Allison Rohrer of White O'Connor Curry in Century City were on the case for CBS and co-defendant King World Productions.

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451d69069e200e54fef37858834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Judge Cooks up Copyright Win for 'Rachael Ray' Producers:


The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

The Hollywood Reporter
Contact: Patrice Atiee at 323.525.2014 or patrice.atiee@thr.com


The Hollywood Reporter is Your Complete Film Resource

The columnists and bloggers who write for The Hollywood Reporter have their collective finger on the pulse of the boxoffice. Martin Grove and the other THR columnists deliver their thoughts on the film industry in an uncompromised style. Subscribe to THR today and get the latest views from these film experts and get the latest movie reviews as well.