‘Ghost Hunters’: The 8-Year Legal Battle Craig Piligian First Thougt Was a Joke

by Jeremy Spirogis
The cast of

Whatever one’s ideas are about Ghost Hunters and whether or not it manipulates viewers with their paranormal investigations, it now falls below a broad actuality TV class. Several paranormal investigation reveals are on cable now, making the style a contrived one in newer years.

Ghost Hunters kind of began the pattern, although, when it first debuted on Syfy Channel again in 2004. It ran till 2016 till being revived for A&E in 2019, not together with many spinoffs.

Because of how profitable this actuality present style is, a lawsuit was inevitable. Executive producer Craig Piligian was as soon as on the middle of a lawsuit by two individuals who claimed they pitched the present’s concept on to him.

How did the ‘Ghost Hunters’ lawsuit begin?

The cast of 'Ghost Hunters'
The forged of ‘Ghost Hunters’ | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for A&E

RELATED: ‘Ghost Hunters’: The Show’s Biggest Haters Are Actual Ghost Hunters

The lawsuit first happened in 2006 when parapsychologist Larry Montz and publicist Daena Smoller alleged they pitched the thought to NBC Universal and Piligian again within the mid-’90s. At the time, Piligian’s manufacturing firm (Pilgrim Films & Television) was pretty small and was not a significant company one would suppose might steal TV concepts.

When Piligian first noticed the lawsuit, he thought it was a sensible joke. How it performed out over time can be considerably absurd, particularly when testimony throughout a deposition occurred with questions on ghost searching.

At the identical time, it broached a brand new concern within the TV trade: More lawsuits is likely to be generated by those that are available to pitch actuality reveals by way of a phrase of mouth contract.

According to Piligian in a Hollywood Reporter interview, he had by no means met Montz or Smoller. As the lawsuit dragged on, he mentioned the 2 might need pitched the present to NBC Universal, but he by no means met them personally.

Unfortunately, the case went on and on, lastly coming to a head in 2014. Once the case lastly dropped, it set a brand new path for the way manufacturing firms take pitches from folks for actuality reveals. However, earlier than this conclusion, the Supreme Court nearly took the case on.

NBC Universal grew to become spooked when the lawsuit was initially upheld

[embedded content material]

It was a protracted highway earlier than this lawsuit lastly fell by way of. Prior to that, Montz and Smoller had their case turned down in district courtroom because of copyright limitations. This was reinstated later when it was thought a breach of contract occurred.

With the case having new legs, in accordance with Deadline, NBC Universal went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 to ask them to intervene within the case. They noticed no advantage in taking over the lawsuit, so it continued to fester for just a few extra years.

At one level, NBC Universal tried to shake the lawsuit off by saying a statute of limitations utilized to when the pitch was initially heard. Ultimately, that is what helped Piligian and NBC keep away from having to take care of any extra litigation.

Montz and Smoller by no means appealed, so their case was misplaced. Yet, some would possibly say many extra examples exists like this over the past 20 years.

According to Piligian from the above Hollywood Reporter interview: “When cases like this happen, it really hurts the small producer because then we guard the doors. We make them sign waivers and rarely take submissions unless they are represented by big agencies”. 

Was ‘Ghost Hunters’ actually stolen by NBC Universal?

RELATED: The Controversial ‘Ghost Hunters’ Episode That Got the Original Show Cancelled

Some inventive folks would possibly suppose the lawsuit ought to have gone forth. The unique pitch by Montz and Smoller was “professional paranormal investigators would lead a team that included normal people with regular jobs to investigate haunted houses throughout the country.”

Considering that they had emails to again up a few of their claims, in accordance with Courthouse News, there was proof NBC Universal did think about their pitch, if possibly in a roundabout way assembly Piligian. Back within the ’90s, after all, actuality reveals had not fairly hit their stride. No doubt many extra comparable pitches occurred, one thing largely safeguarded today by getting all the pieces in writing.

Real-life careers now make up a superb chunk of actuality present ideas. It makes it extra attainable different tried lawsuits would possibly happen about who actually began a kind of well-worn genres.

Leave a Comment