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The "STACKED" Affair: Was Hollywood Out To Get Me? (Jerome A. Holst © 2005)

Al Holst, Owner of TV ACRESRecently, I read an article about a man named Joel Lamontagne who is suing a BRAVO show entitled 'Project Runway' for intellectual property theft. Lamontagne's attorney, Ivan Schwartz filed the lawsuit Tuesday of last week in Los Angeles Superior Court. Allegedly, the new show is based on a rejected script idea called "America's Fashion Designer Search" which Joel pitched to a producer with Los Angeles-based Project Greenlight in February 2003.

Well, isn't that interesting. Looks like BRAVO is at it again.

What makes me say such a thing?

Well, in the summer of 2004, I pitched a sitcom idea to the BRAVO network through a situation comedy writing contest which they sponsored. The contest was for a show called "Situation: Comedy. It was designed to chronicle the activities of new writers as they struggle to put together a new show.

Rules of the game required that writers submit a script of their proposed sitcom. The winners would be asked to fly to Hollywood to turn their script into a show. This activity would be filmed and thus be the premise for the show.

Well, being a librarian, I noted that shows about librarians on TV were few and far between, so I decided to take up the quill and write a sitcom based on an idea I've had for years.

My idea was about a well-endowed woman who got hired as a librarian in a small library. Her ample torso earned her the nickname "Stacks." The name of the script I submitted to BRAVO was called "Sticks and Stacks"

The script follows the day-to-day happenings in a small library. Sort of a BARNEY MILLER with books.

Recurring characters included a young male named Sticks who frequented the library to visit his mentor, an eccentric veteran librarian with a British accent. He was a former aviator with a very vivid imagination. "Stacks" was the newest hire to the library and would become the romantic interest for Sticks, the male lead on the show.

Well, much to my surprise, in the early winter of 2004, I got wind of a new show that the FOX network was planning for Pam Anderson. It was about a well-endowed female who takes a job at a small bookstore. The woman is obviously "Stacked" but that is not her nickname, it is the name of the "bookstore."

One of the recurring regulars to the bookstore is an eccentric man with a mustache (played by Christopher Lloyd). He was a retired rocket scientist.

As soon as I read that, I cried "What the H%@*!!!"

As I compared the storyline I submitted, It was obvious that the major points of my story had been lifted and the story was reversed engineered. The fact that the show was rushed into production was also suspicious.

But, at the time, I thought what am I going to do? I just a little guy. I don't know anyone in Hollywood who can advise me and so I dropped the issue.

The idea, however, that someone read my script, was inspired by the storyline and yet, gave me no acknowledgement, was a bitter pill to swallow.

Well, now with this recent lawsuit being filed, I think that I may try to pursue some avenue of relief.

Luckily, my original work was registered with the Writer's Guild of America in July 2004, before I submitted "Sticks and Stacks" to the BRAVO Sitcom competition for new and aspiring writers.

The fact that I did register the work, might come in handy, and I advise all writers to register any of their works - at least to prove time of creation.

Who knows. I just might be able to get a list of the judges from the BRAVO competition (who read the scripts) and match them with the creators of the new show STACKED.

Possibly, like a CSI forensic scientist, I will be able to piece together a trail of evidence that will prove that indeed there was collusion, and maybe I will win some respect in the end.

As for IVAN SCHWARTZ. the man who is handling the above stated lawsuit, I'd love it, if he contacted me. Maybe I can piggy-back onto the existing lawsuit, or, at the very least, offer some evidence to the fact that some people in Hollywood would rather procure ideas illegally from novice writers than pay them what their ideas are worth.

I don't know if anyone else in the audience suspects they, too, have been ripped off, but feel free to send me your thoughts on the matter. At the very least, I'd be glad to commiserate with you.

Read related article:

Man Sues Over BRAVO Show 'Project Runway'

ENDNOTE: The Series "Stacked" Was canceled in 2006.

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NOTE:  This article may be linked for distribution to other Internet publications with the agreement that you credit the article to the author, Jerome A. Holst


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