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Mutant X Interviews: Howard Chaykin, Philip Segal (2001 TV Guide)



TV Guide 2001: Howard Chaykin and Philip Segal

TV Guide Article

Some superheroes just can't be stopped. Cameras are rolling on the new action series Mutant X- about a team of sexy, genetically altered humans with extraordinary powers- even though 20th century Fox has slapped the show's creator, Marvel Entertainment, with a lawsuit intended to halt production. Fox claims Mutant (set to air in syndication this October) is suspiciously similar to its hit sci-fi film "X-Men," which was based on a popular Marvel comic that also features superheroes who derive their powers from mutant genes. Marvel sold the X-Men film rights to Fox in 1993 and also agreed at the time not to do a live-action X-Men TV series without Fox's OK. Marvel has countersued Fox, claiming its Mutant X characters differ vastly from the X-Men in looks, demeanor and personal histories. (Neither side would comment on the suits.)

The Mutant makers don't even think of their show as science fiction. "It's a character-driven drama with very relatable stories set in real locations," says Philip Segal, senior programming chief at Tribune Entertainment, which is coproducing Mutant. If anything, adds Segal, Mutant owes its roots to Oliver Twist. A disclaimer on the official Mutant X web site further denies any connection to "X-Men" - but wouldn't a little fan confusion help bring the new show a wider audience? "Not at all," insists Mutant head writer Howard Chaykin, a giant in the comic-book industry (his credits include Batman and Superman). To excite today's prickly, hard-to-please fantasy fans, Chaykin says, "it's much more expeditious to create a brand-new universe than to be perceived as sloppy seconds."

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