Shock Jock Howard Stern Sues Over 'Are You Hot?'
Fri Mar 14, 3:47 AM ET
By Janet Shprintz
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Shock jock Howard Stern sued Telepictures Prods. and ABC on Thursday, claiming the reality series "Are You Hot? The Search for America's Sexiest People" is a ripoff of the videotaped version of his radio show, which airs on E! Entertainment Television.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also names as defendants series creator Mike Fleiss and co-executive producer and show runner Scott Einziger.
Einziger is the former producer of Stern's television show. Stern's former head writer, Jackie Martling, also was hired for "Hot," but is not named in the suit.
Stern's attorney, Marty Singer, was not available for comment. A representative for Telepictures, the producer of the series, said the company does not comment on litigation.
According to the complaint, which seeks more than $10 million in damages and alleges unfair business practices, unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secrets, Stern developed a segment on his show called "The Evaluators," in which he and his guests decided if a contestant was hot enough to be a playmate in Playboy magazine.
The suit claims "Hot" is strikingly similar to Stern's "Evaluators" in that it has a single male host and a panel of three blunt and harsh judges who use a laser pointer to highlight body parts during the critiquing process.
Stern also claims he was in negotiations to develop a show based on "The Evaluators" for network or pay cable before "Hot" was developed. Once "Hot" was broadcast, talks for Stern's show broke off, he alleges.
Stern, who has been complaining publicly about "Hot" for weeks, said on his radio show Wednesday that he planned to sue ABC over "Hot" because it ruined a deal for a similar show he was working on with another network.
"Hot," which started to air last month, has not been a ratings success and was described by Daily Variety's review as a "poorly executed soft-core porn special that thinks it's a genuine beauty contest."