NBC Accuses Fox of Stealing Shows
Drawing a new line in the sands of TV land, NBC U television group prexy Jeff Zucker on Saturday accused Fox of going too far in ripping off reality shows from other nets. Peacock also got some payback by revealing the secret details of two reality skeins Fox is working on. Zucker, opening the Peacock’s two-day sesh at the Television Critics Press Assn. tour, said the networks have always imitated one another’s successful shows — think of the myriad “Friends” and “Bachelor” clones — but that what Fox has done is unethical. Still burned by Fox’s decision to pick up its own boxing-themed series, “The Next Great Champ” — after NBC landed the rights to the Sylvester Stallone/Mark Burnett/DreamWorks entry “The Contender” — Peacock execs said Fox had crossed a line by creating an imitator before the original hit the airwaves. “Quite frankly, they used to be innovators, and now they’re imitators,” Zucker said. “It’s just bad for the business, and it’s bad for everybody, and I don’t think that all is fair in love and television.”
NBC execs also suggested that Fox has hit some serious snags by rushing into production a copycat version of “The Contender.” They say Fox’s “The Next Great Champ” could even be shut down by the California State Boxing Commission. Fox spokesman Scott Grogin said “Champ” is moving forward on schedule. “We’re shooting it, and the show is fine,” he said. Reality show, starring Oscar De La Hoya, is being produced by Endemol USA. Otherwise, Fox declined comment on NBC’s accusations, and is likely waiting until its TCA presentation later this week to respond. In addition to “Champ,” Fox rushed onto its summer sked the reality skein “Trading Spouses,” after ABC announced its new fall show, “Wife Swap.”
While networks have never been best buddies, there has been a longtime taboo against revealing each other’s development slate, as Zucker did on Saturday. (Zucker argued that it was Fox who broke all such taboos in blatantly rushing into development reality shows that are being hatched at other nets. He then lashed out at the press, arguing that reporters had failed to hold Fox accountable.) Initially, Zucker would not reveal any details when saying he knew about the two Fox reality shows. When pressed by reporters, he relented. One is “Who’s My Daddy?” featuring a woman who must find her father among 16 men. The second, “Big Shot,” is from Rocket Science Prods. and centers on a work-place competition with a fake Donald Trump. “Big Shot” isn’t a clone of NBC’s “Apprentice,” but rather a clone of its own “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance,” also a Rocket Science project.
With quality ideas like that, is it any wonder the networks are trying to rip each other off? I just can’t understand why network ratings continue to decline year after year.