'American Idol' creator Simon Fuller sues FOX over 'The X Factor'

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simon-fuller-simon-cowell.jpgThe creator of "American Idol" is suing the network that airs the show, claiming FOX owes him money not for "Idol," but for the soon-to-launch U.S. version of "The X Factor."

Simon Fuller says FOX and "Idol" and "X Factor" producer Fremantle North America are reneging on a deal that entitled him to an executive producer credit on "The X Factor" -- and the money that goes with it. He filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages (which could run well into seven figures) on Wednesday (July 20) in Los Angeles Superior Court. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news.

FOX and Fremantle, unsurprisingly, are saying Fuller's suit is "without merit."

The roots of this lawsuit stretch back to 2004, when Fuller sued then-"Idol" judge and "X Factor" creator Simon Cowell in the British courts, claiming Cowell had ripped off the "Idol" format. FOX helped the two Simons reach a settlement that kept Cowell as an "Idol" judge through 2010 and gave him a bigger piece of the show; in return, Cowell agreed not to launch "The X Factor" in the United States until this year.

Fuller's suit claims, however, that the settlement included a clause that Fuller would be an exec producer of "The X Factor" and paid "commensurate with his duties and stature in the entertainment industry."

Not so, FOX and Fremantle say. In a statement, the two companies say Fuller "has not been hired, nor performed any duties, on the U.S. version of 'The X Factor.' His suit seeks payment and credit as an executive producer despite his neither having been approved by the required parties, nor hired, as such. We believe this lawsuit is without merit."

The suit doesn't seek to stop "The X Factor" from airing, and its premiere will go ahead as scheduled on Sept. 21. "Idol," meanwhile, is scheduled to return as usual in January 2012.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images