Hollywood Reporter 4/16/01: Dick Askin
Fox's 'mutant X' Lawsuit Doesn't Faze Tribune Ceo
By Steve Brennan Date: Monday, April 16 2001
Legal threats to the future of "Mutant X," one of the most anticipated new syndicated action TV shows for the fall season, have been dismissed as "unwarranted" by Tribune Entertainment president and chief executive Dick Askin.
Tribune, partnered with Marvel Comics and Fireworks Entertainment on the new series, has cleared the show in more than 90% of the country for a fall launch.
20th Century Fox has filed suit in New York alleging that the new show is a copycat of its boxoffice hit feature "X-Men." In turn, Marvel Comics filed a suit denying the charge and stating that "Mutant X" is totally different from "X-Men" (HR 4/11).
Askin added his voice to the fray Thursday, saying in a statement, "As the lawsuit filed by Marvel makes clear, the Fox claims are wholly without merit. Marvel has assured us that live-action 'X-Men' television rights were never granted to Fox and, while we can understand Fox's disappointment, it is troubling to see them making unwarranted claims with regard to 'Mutant X.'
"Of course, Marvel, Fireworks and Tribune are all moving forward with 'Mutant X' more confident than ever that the series will be a great success," he said.
The series will premiere in the fall, with two-year commitments and double runs in 125 markets, Askin said.
"Our participating stations will benefit from an exceptional program sure to capture the imaginations of viewing audiences and ensure a strong following for the series worldwide," he said.
The series, which Fox is trying to block through the courts, chronicles the adventures of a group of human mutants who are bound together by extraordinary, genetically engineered powers.
The series is based on the "X-Men" comic series conceived in 1963. Marvel later sold the film rights to the X-Men characters to Fox. But Marvel and Askin stressed that deal did not include the TV series rights.
Fox said in a previous statement, "Although we value our good relationship with Marvel and hope this can be resolved, we must take all appropriate action to protect our very valuable 'X-Men' rights."
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