You may have missed it but, during the summer months, ABC ran a reality show called Shaq Vs. The series pits basketball star Shaquille O’Neal against other top athletes in their area of expertise. Competitors include quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, first baseman Albert Pujols, fighter Oscar de la Hoya, and swimmer Michael Phelps. Big names, but the show drew a small audience.
Though it already seems pretty certain that Shaq Vs won’t be back for another season, a new lawsuit may help seal the reality show’s fate for good.
Earlier this week, sports writer and TV producer Todd Gallagher filed a lawsuit against the William Morris Endeavor agency and Media Rights Capital, the companies behind the show. According to THR, Gallagher says that they stole his idea for the series and he wants $5 million.
Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the complaint alleges nine causes of action against the companies, including breach of implied contract and fiduciary duty. According to Gallagher, William Morris Endeavor agents Ivo Fisher and Lance Klein were tapped by Gallagher to shop a reality show version of his book, Andy Roddick Beat Me with a Frying Pan. In the book, the author competes against a different professional athlete each week.
Gallagher says that two networks offered to buy the show but he rejected the deals against the advice of the agents. He would have lost creative control and the right to host the show and the agency were pushing for a big name instead.
The sports writer says he first learned about the Shaq show when he saw it advertised on television. When Gallagher initially complained about the show, it’s reported that O’Neal said that he came up with the idea himself.
What do you think? Does it sound like Gallagher has a good case? Would the show have done better if an “everyman” like Gallagher had been the host/competitor?
Image courtesy ABC.