You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

RDF charges ‘Spouse’ abuse

Reality TV takes to the courts

Viewers were glued to the finales of reality competitions “The Apprentice” and “Survivor” last week — but reality’s real battle is being waged backstage.

In the latest of reality TV’s string of lawsuits, “Wife Swap” producer RDF Media filed suit Dec. 16 against Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories, charging that “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy” was a big, fat ripoff.

RDF argued that “Trading Spouses” looks too much like “Wife Swap” — from its editing to its opening credits montage.

“In our view, this is the most clear-cut case of copyright theft in the history of the reality genre,” says RDF programs director Stephen Lambert.

RDF, which produces “Wife Swap” for ABC, is looking for at least $18 million in damages ($1 million for each episode aired so far).

An RDF victory would send shockwaves through the reality TV business, where copycat formats are prevalent (“The Benefactor” or “The Rebel Billionaire,” anyone?)

But observers aren’t betting on RDF, noting a court turned down NBC’s attempts to stop Fox’s “The Next Great Champ,” while another judge dismissed a suit by CBS over ABC’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!”

More TV

  • Seth MacFarlane attends the Fox Networks

    Seth MacFarlane Says He's 'Embarrassed' to Work for Fox

    Viewers were glued to the finales of reality competitions “The Apprentice” and “Survivor” last week — but reality’s real battle is being waged backstage. In the latest of reality TV’s string of lawsuits, “Wife Swap” producer RDF Media filed suit Dec. 16 against Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories, charging that “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New […]

  • Why "Nathan for You" Deserves Emmy

    Why 'Nathan for You,' the Scamming Show That Defined 2018, Deserves an Emmy (Column)

    Viewers were glued to the finales of reality competitions “The Apprentice” and “Survivor” last week — but reality’s real battle is being waged backstage. In the latest of reality TV’s string of lawsuits, “Wife Swap” producer RDF Media filed suit Dec. 16 against Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories, charging that “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New […]

  • fox-ads-unbreakables

    Fox's Newest Dramas Will Run During Commercial Breaks (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viewers were glued to the finales of reality competitions “The Apprentice” and “Survivor” last week — but reality’s real battle is being waged backstage. In the latest of reality TV’s string of lawsuits, “Wife Swap” producer RDF Media filed suit Dec. 16 against Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories, charging that “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New […]

  • Annecy: ‘Funan,’ ‘Bloeistraat 11,’ ‘Dam Keeper,’

    Annecy: ‘Funan,’ ‘Bloeistraat 11,’ ‘Dam Keeper’ Triumph at Buoyant Festival

    Viewers were glued to the finales of reality competitions “The Apprentice” and “Survivor” last week — but reality’s real battle is being waged backstage. In the latest of reality TV’s string of lawsuits, “Wife Swap” producer RDF Media filed suit Dec. 16 against Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories, charging that “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New […]

  • Maura Tierney as Helen and Dominic

    'The Affair' Boss On A 'Fresh Start' For Season 4

    Viewers were glued to the finales of reality competitions “The Apprentice” and “Survivor” last week — but reality’s real battle is being waged backstage. In the latest of reality TV’s string of lawsuits, “Wife Swap” producer RDF Media filed suit Dec. 16 against Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories, charging that “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New […]

  • Love Is

    TV Review: 'Love Is....'

    Viewers were glued to the finales of reality competitions “The Apprentice” and “Survivor” last week — but reality’s real battle is being waged backstage. In the latest of reality TV’s string of lawsuits, “Wife Swap” producer RDF Media filed suit Dec. 16 against Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories, charging that “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content