Famed “American Idol” Brit judge Simon Cowell has been trading barbs with host Ryan Seacrest, and each week the rhetoric seems to rise a notch.
Things have gotten so bad even Oprah Winfrey has taken note.
Cowell recently appeared on Oprah’s daytime talk show, and she asked him about the on-air squabbling with Seacrest.
Cowell explained that over the years his relationship with members of the show has changed.
“They used to be more groveling towards me,” he said, adding, “As the show has gotten more successful, they got more confidence . . . and they probably dislike me more than seven years ago.”
The “Idol” maker told Winfrey that there is no time to prepare a simulated fight prior to the show. “I see Paula maybe two seconds before the show starts. Ryan, it's the same thing,” Cowell said.
He then went on to compare Seacrest to an annoying bug.
“Ryan has developed this - he's like a mosquito in your face,” Cowell said. “It's like he's flying around, and you want to swat him but he can't be bothered. That's my relationship now with Ryan.”
No one knows more about bugging people than the master mosquito himself.
In more Oprah news, lawsuits involving daytime’s reigning queen are starting to clog up the courts.
One woman has brought legal action against Oprah’s production company and daytime talk show, claiming that in their mad dash to be in the studio audience, overly excited fans of the show pushed her down the stairs. And another female plaintiff from Boston alleges that it was she who years ago came up with a television reality show almost identical to “Oprah’s Big Give.”
In the first case, Orit Greenberg filed papers in an Illinois state court, which claimed that she went to Harpo Studios in December 2006 to be an audience member for Oprah’s TV show; however, when audience members were purportedly told to go sit where they wished in the studio, a stampede resulted. Greenberg alleges that she was pushed down a flight of stairs by the rushing crowd. She says she has suffered “severe and permanent injuries” from the incident and is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.
In the second suit, Darlene Tracy, a mother of four who is representing herself, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Boston, seeking to stop “Oprah’s Big Give” from airing. Tracy claims that she created a reality show titled “The Philanthropist” in February 2005. The show purportedly featured contestants who were challenged to help the needy.
According to Tracy, she submitted the idea to the executive producer of Oprah’s show, Ellen Rakieten, and claims that Rakieten and another producer wrote and requested additional details. After Tracy purportedly responded in early 2005 with a more complete package, she was allegedly informed that Oprah's company, Harpo Productions, was going to pass on the project. In December 2006, ABC announced a new show, “Oprah’s Big Give,” which Tracy claims came from her idea.
A trial judge has dismissed the suit without explanation and Tracy has hired an attorney and filed an appeal.
We’ll have to stay tuned to see if after the big appeal the “Big Give” will be forced to shell out the big bucks.
James Hirsen is a media analyst, Trinity Law School professor and teacher of mass media law at Biola University.
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