SyFy and NBC Universal were sued yesterday for allegedly stealing the idea for “Face Off” from a production company called The Results Group. The Results Group claims that in a May 2009 meeting arranged by an agent at William Morris, they pitched a show based on make-up artists which would be hosted by a female actor and involve a prize worth $100,000. The Results Group was told at the end of the meeting that the network had decided not to pursue their pitched TV show based on its idea and materials. The Results Group says that instead, SyFy took their idea and created “Face Off” with it, which has become a huge hit.
The lawsuit filed alleges a breach of implied-in-fact contract, breach of confidence and unfair competition, among other charges. The suit seeks damages to cover the cost of lost credit, producing fees, the suit and punitive damages as well as any money the network made off of the show.
The production company got wind that SyFy was producing “Face Off”, and requested evidence that the series was not stolen from their pitch. SyFy responded by producing documents that said that “Face Off” was a result of planning that had been completed before they pitch meeting ever took place.
“Face Off” premiered in January of 2011, and The Results Group immediately felt that it was exactly like their pitched idea. The first episode of the series features contestant using make up on models to create the image of a beetle, an ostrich or an elephant. The lawsuit filed states that this concept is markedly similar to the show The Results Group pitched to SyFy.
A NBC Universal and SyFy spokesperson has not yet been responded to requests for comment.