Two producers are now involved in a $50 million dollar lawsuit against the creator of Love & Hip-Hop.
According to TMZ, Trisha Lum and Nickie Lum-Davis filed the lawsuit against Viacom’s VH1 and MTV, claiming they pitched the idea in 2009, and thought they had a deal to make their show, called “Hip Hop Wives.”
The show was supposed to star current and former lovers of DMX, Swizz Beatz, Irv Gotti and Jim Jones, but VH1 execs passed on the show because they didn’t want another show that would rival “Basketball Wives.”
The Lums say that in fact, VH1 used “Hip Hop Wives” as the template for “Love & Hip Hop.” They are suing for copyright infringement and seek an eight-figure judgment.
Here are just a few tidbits from the lawsuit:
– February 27, 2009, Plaintiffs, along with attached talent Chrissy Lampkin, Tashera Simmons and Mashonda Tifere, attended a pitch meeting with VH1 executives for consideration for the production and distribution of “Hip Hop Wives”
– “…a reality show based in New York City that followed four women who were in relationships with Hip Hop celebrities, and highlighted the ups and downs that these women all go through in their everyday lives.”
– March 17, 2009, “VH1 submitted to the Plaintiffs television deal offer to produce and distribute the show on the VH1 network.”
– “Between late June and early July 2009 Num engaged in numerous conversation with Scott regarding Lampkin’s role in the project… related to “Hip Hop Wives.”
– October 2009, “just shortly after two-months, after executing a performer agreement with 8th Wonder, Chrissy Lampkin, without any legitimate explanation unexpectedly announced that she would no longer be participating in the show.”
– December 2009, “Senior Vice President Jeff Olde shockingly informed 8th Wonder that VH1 would be terminating the television deal because VH1 did not want to have an urban based show that had a similar audience to “Basketball Wives,” and that VH1 would not be producing a “Hip Hop Wives” type show in the future.”
– May 14, 2011, “VH1 ultimately premiered a virtually identical show under the name, “Love & Hip Hop,” crediting Ackerman and Scott as creators… credit none of these ethically bankrupt Defendants deserve.”
The producer’s attorney, James Bryant, made the following statement to the court:
“The television and film industries have the unsettling and notorious reputations of being a haven for the theft of scripts and novel ideas created by unsuspecting and trusting writers and producers, by more powerful and connected industry players.
As the story goes a writer or producer will submit a script or treatment to a network or studio with the hopes of possibly getting a television show or movie made. Shortly thereafter, and much to the writer’s disappointment, they receive a letter of no interest from the network or studio whom the submitter their work to.
Finally, a year goes by and that same network or studio, that writer had submitter their work to, released a blockbuster movie or hit television show that is virtually identical to the writer’s work.”