- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chef Ramsay sued

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is accused of faking scenes for a new reality television show in which he was supposed to “make over” failing restaurants in a week’s time while his confrontations with staff were recorded, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Martin R. Hyde, a former general manager at Dillons in Manhattan, says Mr. Ramsay featured the Indian-American restaurant as part of a new series titled “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares,” to be distributed this fall by the Fox Broadcasting Co.

Mr. Hyde’s lawsuit says Mr. Ramsay falsely claimed meat was spoiled, used a defective chair to imply that Dillons’ furniture was shoddy and even hired actors to pose as customers to make the restaurant look busy at the end of the week. He also claimed that Mr. Ramsay, known for foul-mouthed outbursts and star of Fox’s reality competition “Hell’s Kitchen,” humiliated him and forced him to quit his job to avoid further abuse.

Mr. Hyde is seeking millions of dollars in damages and a court order to stop the show from airing, Associated Press reports. James Curich, a spokesman for Mr. Ramsay, said he could not comment on the lawsuit because he had not yet seen it. Jennifer Sprague, a Fox Broadcasting spokeswoman in Los Angeles, also said she could not comment.

A year ago, Mr. Ramsay won a libel action in London against a newspaper that accused him of faking scenes on his “Kitchen Nightmares” reality show in the United Kingdom (seen on Britain’s Channel 4) when he worked to turn around a struggling bistro in northern England. Associated Newspapers Ltd., publisher of the Evening Standard, agreed to print an apology and pay $138,000 in damages to Mr. Ramsay and the makers of his program.

‘Sam’ gets new name

“Sam I Am” isn’t — anymore.

The planned ABC fall comedy starring Christina Applegate has changed its name to “Samantha Be Good” after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from lawyers representing the rights-holder to Dr. Seuss characters, an attorney said Tuesday.

The show stars Miss Applegate as Samantha “Sam” Newly, a woman suffering from amnesia who discovers she wasn’t such a nice person.

Sam-I-Am is the main character in the children’s book “Green Eggs and Ham,” which the late Theodor Geisel — also known as Dr. Seuss — wrote and illustrated. The book has delighted generations of children.

“We asserted a trademark infringement claim” in a May 17 letter to ABC, said Jonathan B. Sokol, an attorney representing San Diego-based Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP.

“People worldwide associate those characters with Dr. Seuss books and … Dr. Seuss vigilantly protects its trademark rights,” Mr. Sokol told AP.

ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co., confirmed the name change Tuesday but declined to discuss reasons for it.

Up for grabs

The Sopranos are clearing out of the neighborhood — but first they’re having a garage sale.

It’s not as if Dr. Melfi’s chair, Tony’s bathrobe or Silvio’s hair care products are for sale, though. All the iconic stuff from “The Sopranos” has been shipped to California while HBO decides what to do with it now that the series is over.

Left behind Tuesday at a Queens warehouse were lamps, rotary telephones, Catholic statuettes, kitchen utensils, bed linens, clocks, chairs, more lamps and toys, AP reports. Not much was recognizable, even to the most devoted fans of the show.

In fact, most of it is quotidian, “The Sopranos” producer Henry Bronchtein said. “Ten years of junk, that’s what we’ve got here. But you know, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”

If your idea of treasure is a yellow flour jar with fairy tale characters that might or might not have been in the kitchen of a character who disappeared after two episodes, it’s yours for a dollar. “If it doesn’t get sold here,” Mr. Bronchtein said, “it’s going to wind up in a big Dumpster, crushed and useless.”

Despite the reverse sales pitch, fans of the show made the trek to the warehouse around the corner from Silvercup Studios, the soundstage where most of the show’s interiors were shot. The critically acclaimed series ended its run June 10 after debuting in 1999.

George DelFarno drove from southern Delaware for the sale. He bought a desk lamp that looked like one of Tony’s — the one the FBI put a bug in during an early season. It wasn’t the actual lamp, but owning a lamp that looked just like the one that had been bugged and was owned by the production company — well, that was close enough.

“Seven degrees of separation,” Mr. DelFarno said with a laugh.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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