man sues FOX and American Idol producers saying show was his idea.

man sues FOX and American Idol producers saying show was his idea.
A man living in Texas says he came up with the idea for and even the name American Idol in the mid-1990s, and he wants damages from FOX and Fremantle Media, the production company behind the original UK show and American version. He also wants them to stop using the name and concept. Harry T. Keane Jr. says he has “a letter and drawings, dated 1994 and 1998 … [that give] three possible names for his idea: Ultimate Star Search, American Idol and American Superstars,” The Houston Chronicle reports. His letter also includes details about the show, from its format to the stage design, all of which are apparently similar to the actual show. CNN reports that he copyrighted those details in 1997, but “didn’t file the suit earlier because he wasn’t aware of the show in Britain, and after the American version came out, he had to get his paperwork in order.” He’s asked FOX for a $300 million settlement; a FOX spokesperson said the man’s claim “is ridiculous, and the lawsuit is ridiculous.”
+ also: E!’s story about the lawsuit says a Harry Keane Jr. of Irving, Texas, lists American Idol as his favorite show on a racing web site.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.