BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – A judge gave the second round to FOX in a legal fight over competing boxing reality shows.
Superior Court Judge Lisa Hart Cole on Friday denied a request from producers of NBC's "The Contender" (search) for a preliminary injunction against "The Next Great Champ" (search), a FOX reality series produced by boxer Oscar De La Hoya and Endemol USA.
DreamWorks SKG and reality mogul Mark Burnett (search), makers of "The Contender," were trying to force FOX to edit allegedly unlawful bouts out of "The Next Great Champ" before it airs Sept. 10.
Cole ruled that the effort would violate FOX's First Amendment rights. Her action followed a similar ruling Aug. 18 by Judge Linda Lefkowitz, who declined to issue a temporary restraining order against the show.
DreamWorks (search) can still pursue its case against FOX, which NBC accuses of ripping off its idea.
"From day one Endemol has focused its attention on producing a high quality television show," said David Goldberg, president of Endemol USA. "Despite a variety of distractions, our commitment to that end has never wavered. Now the viewers will decide if we've done our job."
Attorney Steven Marenberg, representing DreamWorks, referred questions about the case to corporate spokesman Andy Spahn. Spahn did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday.
DreamWorks and Burnett allege "The Next Great Champ" was produced on a "rushed and frenzied basis" to beat NBC's series to the air. Although "The Contender" was announced first, it's not airing until sometime in November.
In "The Next Great Champ," aspiring boxers compete for a contract with De La Hoya's company and a World Boxing Organization title fight. In "The Contender," the prize is $1 million and a shot at a boxing career.
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