It’s not so baller right now to be executive producers of the HBO series Ballers.
E! News is reporting HBO’s Ballers executive producers Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are both being sued for $200 million allegedly ripping off the premise of the show.
Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton, who filed the suit against HBO, claim they met with Wahlberg and Johnson in 2008 and pitched them the concept of a similar show they created called Off Season. They claim a deal fell apart in 2009 after they were refused “created by” credit.
TheWrap reports the suit claims copies of Off Season were given to Steve Mayer, an executive to IMG productions and Chris Albrecht who was the acting chief executive of HBO at the time, which the duo said gave HBO direct access to the material.
The case seems more than just an attention grab, as E! News reports the pair note over 27 similarities between Off Season and Ballers.
“They say the plot of the two shows is essentially the same: surrounding an African American football player who becomes a businessman and mentors other athletes in Miami, living lavish lifestyles surrounded by “expensive boats, exotic cars, heavy drug use, and pretty women.”
HBO told TheWrap when the lawsuit was filed “We are confident the case has no merit.”
Ballers was a hit for HBO, drawing in an average of 1.699 million viewers per episode, the fourth highest among HBO’s current lineup. The show also had good critical ratings, as some compared the show to a sports version of Entourage.
The creators of Off Season seem to have at least enough to merit a case, but the $200 million asking price seems absurd. We’ll have more details on the lawsuit as it progresses.