'Idol' Creator Sues Cowell Over Rival Show

The creator of U.K. talent show "Pop Idol" and its U.S. spinoff "American Idol" is suing his former collaborators, including Simon Cowell, claiming that their new project is a rip-off of the global "I

The creator of U.K. talent show "Pop Idol" and its U.S. spinoff "American Idol" is suing his former collaborators, including Simon Cowell, claiming that their new project is a rip-off of the global "Idol" format.

Simon Fuller's production company 19 TV said in a statement it sued the makers of "The X Factor," Cowell and Fremantle Media, for copyright infringement and breach of contract.

"The X Factor," which recently premiered on U.K. broadcaster ITV, sees a panel of judges -- including the infamously acerbic Cowell and Sharon Osbourne -- select wannabe stars from hundreds of hopefuls. In its later stages, the show pits the judges against one another when each has to act as a mentor to their preferred candidate.

Plans for the show have been known for months, but 19 TV is understood to have made the decision to sue only after having seen the broadcast program.

In a statement issued by Fremantle Media on behalf of itself and Cowell, the company said it hopes to resolve the matter amicably, but would defend any legal action "vigorously" in court. It insisted that the shows are quite different.

When "Pop Idol" was originally launched, it faced action from the makers of "Popstars," which also broadcast in Britain. Under a settlement, the "Pop Idol" team agreed not to use that name internationally, instead launching the show under regional titles like "American Idol."