- The Washington Times - Monday, August 22, 2005

Lawsuit for ‘Lost’

A Los Angeles writer is suing ABC and producer Touchstone Television, claiming they ripped off his 1977 television concept titled “Lost” for the network’s current hit show.

A lawsuit filed Friday by Anthony Spinner in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks unspecified damages for several claims, including breach of contract and fraud, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Mr. Spinner says he was hired by Sid and Marty Krofft Productions in 1977 to write, produce and develop a script for a TV program to be produced by ABC that was titled “Lost.” The script was about a group of airplane crash survivors who struggle to survive in a jungle where they encounter strange creatures and dangerous characters, he says.

Mr. Spinner says the assignment was memorialized in a written contract among himself, Krofft Productions and ABC. He says he was entitled to both “written by” and “created by” credits as well as episodic royalties, producing fees and a percentage of the profits.

ABC declined comment on the lawsuit. Both ABC and Touchstone are owned by the Walt Disney Co.

Stewart’s new recruits

The 16 contestants vying for a spot as Martha Stewart’s protege have been revealed by the domestic doyenne for “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” her upcoming reality show on NBC.

Ten women and six men ranging in age from 22 to 42 — each successful in their own right — are now seeking the chance to be groomed by the multimedia homemaker extraordinaire, reports E! Online.

The competitors include David, a recent college grad who at 22 is already the owner of his own Internet firm; Marcela, a 27-year-old cooking instructor from Tijuana, Mexico; Bethenny, a 34-year-old natural foods chef; and Shawn, a 32-year-old TV newscaster.

Unlike Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice,” Stewart’s contestants will live together in a loft (as opposed to luxury hotel suites) and conduct business in a conference room instead of a boardroom at the Donald’s headquarters.

“I am incredibly impressed with this cast,” Stewart said in a statement. “Their poise and creativity is balanced by a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit. Many of the candidates were as accomplished or more so than I when I started to build my business. Even so, there are some explosive personalities among the candidates, and they really create a lot of tension in the conference room.”

Although Stewart’s “Apprentice,” which debuts Sept. 21, will follow a format similar to Mr. Trump’s program (including the weekly elimination of contestants) the tasks carried out by the teams will be tailored more to Stewart’s areas of expertise — entertaining, event planning, merchandising and homemaking.

Compiled by Thomas Walter from Web and wire reports.

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