TV Guide Insider 2002: Howard Chaykin and Philip Segal, found on Victoria Pratt Web
Marvel's mutant superheroes are caught in the middle of a corporate conflict
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 X (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 counter-sued 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 X 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 co-producing Mutant X. If anything, adds Segal, Mutant X owes its roots to Oliver Twist. "The team's leader, Adam [John Shea, of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), is very much a Fagin figure," Segal savs. "The mutants are the lost souls who'ye found a way to function as a family."
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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