Three men are claiming interference against Michael Irvin ((pictured, thanks eurweb.com)) in a lawsuit, saying the former Cowboys star stole their football reality show concept and turned it into a cable TV program.
The men say they approached Irvin in 2007 to pitch their show titled “Guts to Glory,” featuring contestants competing for a spot on a professional football team, according to a lawsuit filed in Dallas County District Court last week.
In May, Irvin’s program, "4th and Long," debuted on Spike TV. Irvin oversees 12 football amateurs who hope to make a spot on the Cowboys roster.
Irvin’s Dallas-based attorney, Larry Friedman, said his client had thought of the concept several years earlier after he watched the first episode of the reality TV series "American Idol." Irvin met with dozens of people regarding a reality football program, Friedman said.
“This idea is not proprietary,” Friedman said Wednesday afternoon. “This is like saying you invented tick-tack-toe. The show is based on the relationship between Michael Irvin and Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. These people have nothing to do with that relationship.”
But Mark Taylor, the Dallas-based attorney for the three plaintiffs, said his clients were never given any indication that the football star was working on a similar concept.
“That’s inconsistent with what Michael and his agents told them at the time they were meeting and working on the deal,” said Taylor, who represents Jordan Bealmear, Shannon Clark and Christopher N. Harding.
Friedman blasted the three men for not having any producing experience, track record or money to pull off the project. He says they just want Irvin’s money.
“These guys had only one thing: Nada. N-a-d-a,” Friedman said.
Taylor said he didn’t have details on his clients’ producing backgrounds, but that they’re “only seeking what’s rightfully theirs.”
“They are young producers and being deprived of the credit for this show is also very important to them,” Taylor said.
The men presented their concept to Irvin and his agent and representative in August 2007, according to the lawsuit, obtained by Courthouse News Service. In the following months, they negotiated an agreement regarding how much money each side would receive.
The agreement first proposed that Irvin and his agent receive 25 percent of a producing fee in connection with the show. In March 2008, Irvin’s representatives told the plaintiffs he wanted 95 percent of the fee, the lawsuit states.
Fourteen months later, “4th and Long” appeared on TV.
Here's the lead story from our friends at CBS11 in Dallas. Steve Pickett caught up with Irvin.