ABC Family sued for alleged idea theft

12 Dates

Two television producers filed a lawsuit yesterday against ABC Family Channel and Disney, saying that a story idea they pitched unsuccessfully later became a movie with many of the same ideas.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Beth Grossbard and Barri Rosenblum, argues that in 2005 they pitched an idea called 'I Hate Christmas' to the network. They described the idea as a “girl’s version of the film Groundhog Day with its own unique twist.”

The duo provided ABC Family with an eight-page treatment. ABC Family considered the project for some time but ultimately told them that they would not be going forward with the project.

Fast forward to 2011, when they see an ad for an ABC Family film called 'The 12 Dates of Christmas,' which they say mirrored their concept and used many specific elements they had discussed in the meeting. One of the producers of that film was Beth Miller, who was ABC Family director of development at the time they pitched their idea and sat in on the meetings. 

Grossbard and Rosenblum primarily focus on Christmas movies. They have successfully sold 'The Christmas Shoes' to CBS, as well as its sequel, 'The Christmas Blessing.' In addition, they have sold 'The Christmas Hope' to Lifetime.

What do you make of this? 


- Freeform

Written by: Hamatosan
Jan 15th, 2013, 8:21 am


Message Posted On Apr 9th, 2013, 1:26 pm
I disagree with the statement above. Theft does take place and the television and film industry do sometimes do it. I have had my own idea stolen and it is now a BBC children's programme - it is too similar and too unusual and actually uses the same name as my proposal. I hate the way the industry gets away with this kind of thieving and some kind of greater ability of those who are victims should be put in place. It is so disgusting and upsetting to see your ideas stolen - it's like a burglary of your home.

Message Posted On Jan 20th, 2013, 9:42 pm
Open nick .... .... M25


Level 39 (91%)
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Message Posted On Jan 15th, 2013, 8:28 am

I don't doubt at all the assertion that elements of the rejected treatment were used in the later ABC Family tele-film. Hollywood has a long, long history of doing that exact thing. Good luck to Grossbard and Rosenblum with their lawsuit, but these types of suits rarely go anywhere, as it can be really hard to 100% prove that ideas were intentionally stolen. The usual defense by studios to this kind of accusation is that there are millions of writers writing millions of screenplays every year, so it's only logical that one or more of them would contain a similar plot and/or characters.

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