ENTERTAINMENT

Out of 'Timeless': Days before premiere, NBC sued by Spanish TV show's makers

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 02:  (L-R) Executive producer Eric Kripke, actors Matt Lanter, Abigail Spencer, Malcolm Barrett and executive producer Shawn Ryan speak onstage at the 'Timeless' panel discussion during the NBCUniversal portion of the 2016 Television Critics Association Summer Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 2, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 02: (L-R) Executive producer Eric Kripke, actors Matt Lanter, Abigail Spencer, Malcolm Barrett and executive producer Shawn Ryan speak onstage at the 'Timeless' panel discussion during the NBCUniversal portion of the 2016 Television Critics Association Summer Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 2, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)  (2016 Getty Images)

The NBC show "Timeless" hasn't aired its first episode yet, but it has already prompted a copyright infringement lawsuit by the makers of a Spanish-language series.

ONZA Partners sued NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Entertainment, claiming "Timeless" is an unauthorized version of its show "El Ministerio del Tiempo" ("The Ministry of Time").

ONZA contends it was in negotiations with Sony to produce a U.S.-version of its series, which features a three-person team that hops through time trying to stop criminals from changing key historical events.

"Timeless" also features a three-person team, with an emphasis on stopping a criminal who is intent on altering American history. The show, which the network has been promoting heavily, is set to premiere on Monday.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages but does not seek an injunction to prevent the show from airing.

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NBCUniversal and Sony declined comment because of the pending lawsuit.

"El Ministerio del Tiempo" began airing in Spain last year and has been broadcast in Brazil, Mexico and several other countries, according to the lawsuit.

It is not uncommon for shows that become successful in one region to be licensed and adapted for audiences in other countries.

The Showtime series "Homeland" is an adaptation of an Israeli show; Netflix's "House of Cards" is an adaptation of a BBC miniseries; and "American Idol" is an adaptation of a British variety show.

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