The Results Group production company has accused Syfy and NBCUniversal of stealing the concept for the reality show Face Off from a pitch meeting about developing a makeup competition series. Previously known as Studio City, Results says in an LA Superior Court suit filed today (read it here) that it developed content for a proposed reality competition series called Face Off. The material included a synopsis, definitions of challenges, talent documents and a sales presentation video called the “Face Off Pitch Materials”. At a 2009 meeting, a Results executive, a producer and William Morris Endeavor agent met with SyFy execs to pitch the proposed series. Syfy subsequently told the Results Group the network had decided not to pursue a series based on the confidential materials presented at the meeting.
Results execs later learned that Syfy was doing a reality competition series called Face Off that seemed similar to their pitch. Results then requested evidence that the show Syfy was producing was not copied from the Face Off Pitch Materials. According to the suit, the defendants responded with documents that said Syfy and NBCU had already planned to produce a makeup competition show before the pitch meeting took place, that the defendants had not copied Results’ Face Off Pitch Materials and that production company Mission Control Media had conceived the concept and title independently. After several episodes of Face Off aired on Syfy in early 2011, the suit says, Results executives realized the extent to which their ideas had allegedly been copied. Those ideas included that the show had a female host and three judges who all had experience with special effects makeup in movies and TV, and a $100,000 prize. Additionally, specifics of multiple episodes were similar to material in Results’ pitch. Alleging breach of confidence and of implied credit and compensation, Results seeks actual and punitive damages plus legal costs. The plaintiffs are represented by Bryan Freedman, who is an outside counsel to Deadline’s parent company PMC, and Steven Stigkitz of LA firm Freedman & Taitelman.