Contender producer says “Fox never had this idea”; exec asks, “What is original?”


href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/29/arts/television/29FOX.html”>Contender producer says “Fox never had this idea”; exec asks, “What is original?”

One of the producers of NBC’s The Contender says that FOX blatantly ripped off his idea when they created their own boxing show: “I’ve been working on the idea for ‘The Contender’ for close to five years. I can tell you that Fox never had this idea,” Jeff Wald told the New York Daily News. Even more damningly, he says, “I was told by Fox that they would do everything they could to hurt (‘The Contender’) because they didn’t get it. They said, ‘We’ll do a version of your show and we’ll beat you.’” A FOX VP says “Wald’s statements are both outrageous and false.” Mike Darnell justifies his copycat actions to the New York Times–but not his frightening Tarzan-like photograph that the Times uses–by asking, “Calling reality ideas original is always suspect. You have so many guys coming in with ideas. What is original?” All that matters to him is being first, as he will be with his boxing series and with other carbon-copy shows: “I think being first with your concept is extremely important.”

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.