VH1 Faces Lawsuit over New Hit Show  

Apparently, Viacom subsidiary, and MTV affiliate VH1, who is popular for reality shows like Flavor of Love 1 & 2, I Love New York, Celebrity Fit Club, The Surreal Life, and now Mo’Nique’s Charm School is under fire for ripping the idea of a lady by the name of Drew Sidora for a show she called “Ghetto Fabulous.” In a letter obtained by Hip Hop Crunch, you can see how exactly everything went down .. check out the full letter after the cut!

RE: Drew Sidora – “Ghetto Fabulous”

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We represent Drew Sidora and her affiliated entities. VH1’s new reality television series “Charm School” (the “Series”) is a blatant infringement of Ms. Sidora’s copyrighted reality television project “Ghetto Fabulous” (the “Project”).

Ms. Sidora and her manager, Allison Jordan, together with Charles Sims, prepared a treatment (the “Treatment”) for the Project, which they registered with the Writers Guild of America on February 19, 2004 and again on April 8, 2004. In early 2005, Ms. Jordan and Corliss King pitched the Project and submitted the Treatment to Stacey Jenkins at VH1. Ms. Jordan and Ms. King described the Project as a reality show about “Ghetto Fabulous” girls who are taught proper etiquette and transformed from ghetto to glamorous. Ms. Jordan and Ms. King spoke with Ms. Jenkins on multiple separate occasions over the course of more than a year, setting forth many potential story ideas and scenarios.

Although Ms. Jenkins unequivocally indicated to Ms. Jordan and Ms. King that VH1 genuinely liked the concept and told them that VH1 intended to pursue the Project, Ms. Jordan and Ms. King did not hear from Ms. Jenkins or anyone else at VH1 again. Ms. Sidora therefore presumed that VH1 had elected not to pursue the development of the Project.

In light of the foregoing, Ms. Sidora, Ms. Jordan, Ms. King and Mr. Sims were shocked and outraged last week when for the first time they saw the promotional segments for the Series. VH1’s description of the Series reads like the description of the Project. Specifically, VH1 describes the Series as a reality series about “ghetto fabulous” girls who are enrolled in a charm school and thereby transformed from ghetto to glamorous.

VH1’s liability under copyright and tort law is clear. It is undisputed that VH1 had extensive access to the Project. Moreover, based on the overwhelming substantial similarities between the Project and the Series, a reasonable person would conclude that the Series is a blatant misappropriation of the Project.

Accordingly, Ms. Sidora demands that VH1 immediately cease and desist from any further development, production, distribution and any other exploitation of the Series, and confirm to us in writing not later than April 1, 2007 that VH1 has done so. In addition, VH1 must compensate Ms. Sidora for the illegal and infringing use of the Project and the loss of opportunity to produce the Project as a television series. If VH1 fails so to comply, our client will protect her rights by aggressively pursuing legal and equitable remedies against VH1, including asserting claims for copyright infringement, breach of implied contract, breach of confidence, interference with prospective economic advantage, and unfair competition—claims that carry significant compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

This letter is not intended to be a complete recitation of the relevant facts of this matter. Furthermore, nothing contained herein shall be deemed a waiver of our client’s rights or remedies, either at law or in equity, all of which are hereby expressly reserved.

I honestly don’t see VH1 pulling the plug on this show. Hell, it’s getting some of the best ratings they’ve ever had for a reality show relating to those FOL chicks! They’re all about making their money, and that’s exactly what they’re gonna do. I’d hate to see the show get cancelled anyhow…