The suit, which was filed Tuesday (Dec. 7) in the U.S. District Court of Northern District of Texas, accuses the companies and producer Cheryl Hines, Denise Cramsey, Stuart Krasnow, Adrian Court Productions and Horizon Scripted Television Inc., of wrongfully duplicating his original concept of 'Your School Makeover,' for their series 'School Pride.'
According to the suit, Paris, born Oscar Jackson, copyrighted the show's concept, which is based around redesigning rundown schools, with the help of an urban hip-hop label, world-class designers and contractors, all "willing to use its resources to make a difference." After shopping the idea around through his company Guerilla Funk, he claims to have become the victim of copyright infringement.
"In or about early October, 2010, Plaintiff began receiving unsolicited telephone calls of congratulations for finally getting the work produced, in response to advertising on defendant's NBC's network School Pride," read the complaint. Despite letters sent from his lawyers, Paris asserts that NBC never responded to his claims, and denied poaching the show idea.
The NBC show is executive produced by Hines, who stars on the HBO show, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' and Cramsey, a producer on 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' and 'True Beauty.' 'School Pride' tells the stories of communities coming together to renovate aging and broken public schools. Cameras follow students, teachers and parents as they help rebuild their own schools, concluding with the unveiling of the brand new, transformed school.
Aside from the $20 million, Paris is also seeking an additional $30,000 in statutory damages.