While I was gone on vacation this news came out. A man named Joel Lamontagne claims that he pitched the idea for Project Runway to Tony Yates at Project Greenlight in February 2003. There are about 50 on-line references (click on the link above) to this story but they all say basically the same thing:
LOS ANGELES Nov 24, 2005 — A man is suing the producers and sponsors of the cable reality show "Project Runway," charging that the Emmy-nominated series is based on a script of his that was rejected two years ago.
Joel Lamontagne, who filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims he pitched a show called "America's Fashion Designer Search" to producer Tony Yates at Project Greenlight in February 2003. Ultimately, he was told the company was too busy to proceed.
"We think they took this idea, promoted it and it's been a big success," said Ivan Schwartz, Lamontagne's lawyer.
Requests for comment from Greenlight went unanswered Wednesday.
"Project Runway" features designers who compete in weekly fashion challenges in hopes of breaking into the business. It first aired on Bravo in December 2004 and a second season begins next month.
The lawsuit contends that Project Greenlight developed the show for Miramax Films, which then sold it to Bravo and NBC Universal. All three companies are named in the lawsuit, as well as Yates and sponsors such as the Gap, Banana Republic, Elle magazine and L'Oreal.
Schwartz said the lawsuit seeks "tens to hundreds of millions of dollars" in damages.