A former "Average Joe" (search) contestant and two other men are suing NBC for $40 million, contending that the network took their ideas and used them in the latest installment of the show, "Average Joe: The Joes Strike Back." (search)

Alfred LaPonza (search), a suburban Cleveland construction contractor, who played "Fredo" on a previous installment of the reality series, is suing the network along with Bill Costaras, a cosmetic dentist, and entrepreneur C. Peter Cimoroni.

They say the network used their concepts, story lines and casting suggestions for the show, including the use of cosmetic surgery and dentistry to enhance the appearance of the "Joes," who compete for the affections of a woman.

An NBC spokeswoman declined comment on the lawsuit filed last week in federal court. The finale of "Average Joe: The Joes Strike Back" airs Wednesday night.