Lawsuit claims William Morris Endeavor stole 'Shaq Vs.'

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Lawsuit claims William Morris Endeavor stole 'Shaq Vs.'

Wed Oct 07, 2009 @ 01:29AM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Shaq-vs The William Morris Endeavor agency and production/financing outfit Media Rights Capital were sued today by a sports writer who claims they stole his idea for the ABC series "Shaq Vs.," in which the gigantic basketball star competes against pro athletes in different sports. 

The $5 million complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by prolific sports writer Todd Gallagher, alleges nine causes of action including breach of implied contract and fiduciary duty. WME agents Ivo Fisher and Lance Klein were allegedly tapped by Gallagher to shop a reality show version of his book "Andy Roddick Hit Beat Me With a Frying Pan," in which Gallagher would compete against a different pro athlete each week. He says two small networks offered to buy the show but he rejected the deals against the advice of WME because he would have lost creative control and the right to host. (Topper Ari Emanuel is alleged to have been upset by Gallagher's insistence on hosting because the agency preferred that a name-brand athlete be attached).

Gallagher says he later learned about the Shaq show, packaged by WME, when he saw it advertised on ABC.  

WME did not respond to a request for comment but when Gallagher voiced his objection to the series last month, Shaq claimed he conceived the idea himself.

Gallagher is represented by Richard Lloyd Sherman and Abhay Khosla at Sherman & Nathanson. 

UPDATE: Commenter rightly points out we got the Gallagher book title wrong.

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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

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