Fox’s New Girl is being accused of plagiarism, EW has confirmed.
According to court papers filed Jan. 16, Stephanie Counts and Shari Gold are suing New Girl creator Elizabeth Meriwether, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, Peter Chernin, Jacob Kasdan, and Twenty-First Century Fox for copyright infringement.
In the lawsuit, which EW has obtained, Counts and Gold allege that prior to New Girl, they had a script for a pilot for their show hopeful Square One, which was met with favorable interest in the industry, but they weren’t able to make a deal. They worked on this from 2006-2011. Once New Girl aired, Counts and Gold hired a lawyer. Fox allegedly made the writers a $10,000 settlement offer, but they refused the money. (UPDATE: A rep for New Girl tells EW the network and studio have no comment.)
Square One is based on Counts’ real-life experience of moving into a three-man bachelor pad after learning that her husband was having an affair, and the lawsuit lists many similarities between the two shows, including “both protagonists are awkward, quirky women around the age of thirty, the name of the protagonist’s unfaithful beau in each work is Spencer, the plot of both works revolves around the protagonist moving in with three guys, the three new guy roommates in each work have identical personality traits, and the best friend in each work is named “CeCe” or has the initials ‘C.C.’.” Basically, the lawsuit alleges, “New Girl was nothing more than a slavish copy of Square One…if [a person] is give a simple description of Square One, would immediately identify the show as New Girl.”
Counts and Gold are seeking credit as the show’s true creators as well as “compensatory, statutory, punitive and exemplary damages.”