LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Interview With Ryan Bormaster, Harry Keane
Aired May 16, 2003 - 20:43 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is the second season of "American Idol." It is going to end next week. It's going to be either Ruben or Clay. Contestants go on the Fox Television show hoping to win fame and fortune. They frequently end up disappointed. But no one appears as more disappointed than the man named Harry Keane. He wasn't a contestant. Harry claims that he came up with the idea for the show almost 10 years ago, but it was stolen from him and now he is suing.
Mr. Keane and his lawyer are joining us tonight from Houston. Gentlemen, good evening.
HARRY KEANE JR., PLAINTIFF: Good evening.
KAGAN: Harry, let's hear the pitch. Why do you say "American Idol" was your idea?
KEANE: Well, in 1994, I came up with the idea sitting in my office in Louisville, Texas.
KAGAN: And what did you do with that idea? We all think of a lot of ideas, but we don't do anything with it. What did you do with this idea?
KEANE: Actually, in 1994, when I came up with the idea, I just wrote all my notes down, and did the plot on how I wanted it to go, and put the whole show, the concept of my expressions on, and voted by the public by phone, Internet, and I actually how I created it was...
KAGAN: Harry, Harry, hold on a second here. Ten years ago, you were pitching a show that you say people would vote on the Internet? Who was hearing of the Internet 10 years ago?
KEANE: Nobody was hearing it. It was just something that we knew was coming out, and that's what I thought that if the future would come out to it, it would be a perfect thing for people.
RYAN BORMASTER, KEANE'S ATTORNEY: If I could interject there...
KAGAN: Go ahead.
BORMASTER: ... the Internet was in effect 10 years ago. I have an e-mail address from 10 years ago. I know that I was e-mailing friends and type-talking with friends from 10 years ago. So I mean, I beg to differ. It was around.
KAGAN: OK, Ryan Bormaster, you're the attorney here. You are helping to filet the lawsuit. What's the lawsuit ask for?
BORMASTER: Well, at this time, what we're asking for is that Harry get what he deserves, credit for the show.
KAGAN: Credit or money?
BORMASTER: Well, that depends on Fox. It depends on Freemantle and it depends on how things go. At this point in time, OK, he's suffering damages that are escalating on a daily basis. On a daily basis, every single day, merchandise is sold. Every single day, records are heard. They've got a gold label, they've got record contracts. I mean, people call in, cast their votes. I mean, and his damages continue to grow. This was his idea.
KAGAN: Can you put a number on it for me, Ryan?
BORMASTER: Well, there's no real way to do that at this point. I can promise you this, when it comes time to prove damages at trial, I will have a damage expert that's going to be able to forecast just that.
KAGAN: And I think a lot of people out there are going to say, this is the second season, they're about to crown their second champion, their second American idol. Harry, people are wondering, where were you? Where were you last year? Why didn't you speak out after when this was a pilot?
BORMASTER: I'm going to have to interject there too. That's a legal decision.
KAGAN: Why is that? He can't answer where he was?
BORMASTER: Because it's a legal decision. It was a legal decision. You can't go to battle with somebody like Rupert Murdoch or Freemantle without all of the necessary evidence.
KAGAN: So you guys have been working on this lawsuit for a couple of years, is what you're saying?
BORMASTER: No, this started -- "American Idol" started in June of 2002. OK? He didn't even know about "Pop Idol." He had no reason to know about "Pop Idol." He doesn't live in London. He wasn't privy to it. He didn't know.
KAGAN: For people who have not followed this as closely, we'll just fill them in, that the producers of "American Idol" have actually taken this -- they say they've taken this show from one that started actually in England that was first called "Pop Idol." So that's what you're referring to.
BORMASTER: Absolutely. And then, when the show first started airing here, he didn't even know about it for two, three episodes. When he first saw it, he realized, my gosh, I've got to go and I've got to re-find everything that I had. I shopped this idea around, I sent advertising packets to people, I've put it on the Internet, I mailed my packets to Simon's company, I mailed it to Freemantle, I mailed it to 19 TV. I've got to go find this stuff.
When he comes to me, I've got to tell, Harry, look, OK, as an attorney, I have an obligation to do my due diligence, I've got to make sure that you're not bringing me copies of things that you may or may not have just created. I've got to see the originals.
KAGAN: Right. So you filed this lawsuit. What does Fox have to say about all this?
BORMASTER: Interestingly enough, the only comment that I've heard from Fox is through the media at this point. And that's their typical claim, that it would be frivolous, which is what I would be saying too if I was on their side, because that's what you have to say.
KAGAN: And Harry, let me ask you, when you were doing all of this -- actually, let's put this up here. This is actually the response from Fox. They say the claim he -- referring to Harry Keane -- is making is ridiculous, and that the lawsuit is ridiculous. And as you even point out, that's what you'd expect somebody from Fox to say?
BORMASTER: Absolutely. I mean, you know, when somebody's making allegations like that, I imagine at this point in time these people are scrambling. They're probably...
KAGAN: You really think you have them sweating?
BORMASTER: I'm sorry?
KAGAN: You got them sweating, you think Fox is nervous?
BORMASTER: Well, I'm not going to speculate about that, but I can tell you this -- if I am somebody like Rupert, and somebody like Harry is producing the kind of exhibits that I have attached to that original complaint in federal court, I'm asking some hard questions. How did you come up with this idea? Where did you think about it? What's going on here, guys?
KAGAN: Harry -- we only have a couple of minutes left, so I just want to ask Harry real quickly, do you watch the show?
KAGAN: You do -- so Clay or Ruben?
KEANE: Ruben, 205 (ph).
KAGAN: Just had to ask. All right. Thank you so much. And I'm sure there's a lot of other great ideas inside that head of yours, thinking of them all the time.
BORMASTER: Thank you for having us.
KEANE: Thanks for having me.
KAGAN: Gentlemen, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com