Simon Fuller sues Fox and Fremantle over 'X Factor' credit
On Wednesday, Fuller filed suit in California Superior Court against Fox Broadcasting Co. and "X Factor" producer Fremantle North America Inc., over his claim that he was promised an executive producing credit in the talent show that premieres this fall with former "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell as the star.
Fuller's lawsuit against Fox, which also airs "American Idol," and Fremantle is the latest twist in his love/hate relationship with Cowell, who was a judge not only on "American Idol" here, but also on Fuller's British version known as "Pop Idol." Cowell launched "The X Factor" in the U.K. in 2004 and quickly got tangled up in a legal battle with Fuller, who contended that the show was a ripoff of "Pop Idol."
The suit against Cowell was eventually settled and Fuller claims that as part of that agreement, he was promised an executive producing credit on Cowell's "The X Factor" should the show be brought to the United States.
"As often happens in Hollywood, however, binding promises made one day for expediency turn out to be cast aside when it comes time to perform," Fuller's suit said, adding that Fox and Fremantle have made "hundreds of millions of dollars" because of Fuller's creative efforts.
Fox and Fremantle said in a statement that Fuller's suit is without merit and that he is seeking "payment and credit as an executive producer despite his neither having been approved by the required parties, nor hired, as such."
In his lawsuit against Fox and Fremantle, Fuller includes an excerpt from a 2005 letter that said the network would sign off on Fuller as an executive producer with a fee that is "commensurate with his duties and stature in the entertainment industry." It was that promise, Fuller said, that led him to end his legal fight with Cowell over the U.K. version of "The X Factor."
A spokesperson for Fuller said he has "prudently attempted to settle this matter privately but the other parties have refused to honor the original contract leaving him no other choice but to pursue legal action."
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Randy Jackson (L) and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez with "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller. Credit: Mark Ralson/AFP/Getty Images.