Live-Action TV Director Sues “Johnny Test” Producer For Creator Credit

Veteran primetime television director David Straiton, (House, Grimm, and the upcoming Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) is demanding that a former writing partner, Scott Fellows, compensate him for the joint creation of the animated series Johnny Test, reports Deadline. The animated series, which Fellows is credited as sole creator and executive producer, is about a suburban kid who is frequently used as a scientific test subject by his genius-level twin sisters. Fellows is also the creator of the early Cartoon Network series The Moxy Show and the Nickelodeon live-action series Big Time Rush, and has worked as a staff writer on The Fairly OddParents.

Straiton alleges that he and Fellows created the concept together in 1995 and after an unsuccessful pitch to Nickelodeon, they went their separate ways though they never terminated their joint venture on this project. Then in 2005, without informing or including Straiton, Fellows sold the series to the Kids’ WB, which the show outlived and went on to air on Cartoon Network in the US and on Teletoon in Canada, where the show currently resides in its sixth season.

According to the complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court (download PDF HERE), Straiton has a good reason for waiting eight years to make his claim. He says in court documents that he has no familiarity with the children’s television market because he is an “adult and primetime drama television director.” Further, even though he has a daughter, she hadn’t seen the show because “his child was not permitted to watch television or movies until this year, pursuant to the rules of her preschool and elementary schools, which adhere to the Waldorf education philosophy.

Last November, Straiton, who only recently began letting his young daughter watch TV, noticed the show in his digital cable directory. He contacted Fellows requesting an accounting of revenues derived from Johnny Test. When Fellows refused to comply, Straiton filed the complaint with the Los Angeles Superior Court accusing Fellows of constructive fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and misaccounting.

Straiton is seeking a fifty percent share of all earnings and compensation received by Fellows in connection with Johnny Test, as well as a co-creator credit, punitive damages and court costs. Straiton, who is demanding a trial jury, is represented by Thomas Brackey and Derek Lemkin of Freund & Brackey LLP.


  • SarahJesness

    Why would anyone want credit for creating Johnny Test?

    I kid, I kid, ha ha. If this guy’s claims are true, I hope he gets the credit and some cash. Running off with someone else’s intellectual property isn’t cool.

  • Erik Butter

    Who in his right mind, wants credit for this Sh*t? This is one of the ugliest cartoons on tv these days.

    • Funkybat

      Well, if his claims are true, he hasn’t really ever seen the show, and was unaware it was ever produced until recently. He might know know exactly whay he wants his name tied to.

      And if we’re going to get down to brass tacks here, this is less about credit than it is about dollars. That show is somehow a success, and there is money to be had.

      If he played a role in the early development on the concept he deserves *something*, but knowing the nature of animation collaborations between people just starting out, I doubt there is much of anything in writing that he can use to prove a legally-binding agreement. There is probably some early art and script(s) with both names, but whether that’s enough for a judge I am not up on the law enough to speculate.

    • Thomas Paul Jennings

      Because MONEY.

  • Animator606432

    The writing on this show isn’t to bad, but the animation is a freaking eye sore. Still, I hope the guy get’s the credit he deserves.

  • Alex Dudley

    As bad as Johnny Test is, the show is a hit, and Straiton’s actions are justified. He should be compensated.

    • Guy

      “the show is a hit”

      ehh not really

      The thing is that, the show is so goshdarn cheap to produce that even if it has below-average ratings that’s still enough to justify continually airing it and be considered a financial success in it’s own right.

      Because of this, the show probably isn’t going away any time soon. (How does it feel to know that Johnny Test is the longest-running show on Cartoon Network?)

      • kateyrch

        Actually Ed Edd n Eddy is the longest running show on Cartoon Network….

        • JohnnyTesticleSucks

          Well, Johnny Test is the longest still running show on Cartoon Network.

      • IcyTea

        Technically Johnny Test is Kids WB and Teletoon cartoon. Cartoon Network airs it but does not actually “create” it.

  • The Nat Kidd

    Wow, now I have even more reasons to hate Scott Fellows even more.
    Really unoriginal man, this just shows that he really wants things his ways no matter what kind of way he does it. You know if that co-creator came up with the project mainly himself and not a lot from Scott then wow.

  • Uso Ewin

    If this somehow leads to Johnny Tests cancellation then this man is a hero and should be given the highest honors capable of society.

  • Cb

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, "Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted."]

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    It could be argued the show itself is a ripoff of Dexter’s Lab with the brother and sister role reversed. Not to mention the obvious unoriginal source of the show’s name. Actually, if you look at this “Fellows’s” history, nothing he’s done seems really inspired or original. Just swings from “wild and zany” cartoons to typical tweeny bopper shtick. Children’s TV market is a cash cow if you right. BTW, I agree with the latter, would having your name put on that Mctoon really be worth the money if you’re a respected writer?

    • Funkybat

      If they truly did come up with the concept in ’95, it predates Dexter’s Lab, unless one of them knew Genndy and had seen some of what he was working on at that time.

      Either way, the idea of comparing this to Dexter’s Lab is kind of stomach-churning. Family Guy comes closer in quality to classic Simpsons than Jonny Test has ever did to Dexter’s Lab.

      • http://www.examiner.com/tv-in-mobile Mario500

        “If they truly did come up with the concept in ’95, it predates Dexter’s Lab”

        That cannot be right, since the very first episode of “Dexter’s Laboratory” (titled “Dexter’s Laboratory”) was originally broadcast in February 1995.

        • Funkybat

          I see. I had done some cursory research and thought that Dexter premiered in ’96. (My memory was early ’97, so I figured ’96 was the pilot.)

          If this concept was created immediately after the first Dexter’s Lab aired, that just makes the show seem even more derivative than it already does.

    • SarahJesness

      Could be a money matter. If he really did come up with a lot of the detail for this show, he should definitely get some money. It’s like if somebody came across one of the really crappy stories I wrote in my early teens, took the story, it got successful, and the person who took the idea made a lot of money. Even though I’m not proud of those stories (I outright hate them) cause I know they’re crazy terrible, I’d still want my money.

      As generic as it is, it seems to be a fairly successful show, seeing as it’s in the fifth season. Of course, maybe it only keeps going because it’s so cheap to produce… But the point is, a successful show might look good on his resume. People hiring don’t always look for “good”, they look for “popular”.

      • Jason Cezar Duncan

        True. I think we forget the bulk of people around the world probably don’t think of kid shows as the first thing when they think of “art”. Be it Dexter’s Lab or this insipid mess. Just something to throw on to keep the kids quiet. And kids under 10 really don’t seem to care either way. Only difference is, is shows written by people who care about what they do tend to get the loyal audiences of adults and cult fans. Shows like Johnny Test? Once it’s done, it’s pretty much done, does anyone remember this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZrIVtDhuWA in all honesty? But hey, it’s a cheap filler and keeps the numbers.

  • Roberto Severino

    Who really cares? Not like this show was ever good anyway. If I were this guy, I wouldn’t want to be associated with Johnny Test in any way on a resume kind of basis.

  • Confusion

    Woah. Didn’t see that coming.
    *Guitar riff*

    • JohnnyTesticleSucks

      Made my day. xD

  • Smashmatt202

    Maybe if we’re lucky, this will lead to the show finally being canceled. Though I have to admit, seeing articles like this is strange, given that it’s a neutral perspective on the event, as opposed to some of the clearly biased stuff I’ve seen on Cartoon Brew.

  • Shazbot

    The person who ought to be suing is Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of “Dexter’s Laboratory”. Those sisters are double-Dexter in drag, minus the poignancy and humanity (that Dexter displayed during the show’s original run).

    • Thomas Paul Jennings

      Lil’ awkward considering he left CN.

      • Re’Nell Glover

        CN I don’t even WATCH anymore; do you remember/know that CN took DC Nation off the air without reason/warning back in Oct. and announced it would return in January?

        • Thomas Paul Jennings

          That… Doesn’t really have anything to do with the discussion.

  • Chuck May

    To me what’s going on here is it’s not about his name being on Johnny Test (Seriously what sane person wants that) or exclusively about money (Although it is), on some level it’s about the fact that Fellows took IP that wasn’t entirely his and marketed it as his product, which is a big no-no as far as copyright law goes

  • Re’Nell Glover

    If you don’t know, this show was produced by WB Animation during its 1st season; after the WB Network/UPN merged into the CW, Canada’s Teletoon and Cookie Jar (the latter now DHX Media) took over the show, and it’s been that way ever since. Also, I can’t forgive CN for taking DC Nation off the air back in Oct. without reason/warning and postponing it again until January.

    • IcyTea

      Really we don’t care about your problems with CN doing to DC Nation, since DC Nation isn’t even that important these days.

  • Dar

    I’d like to attempt the improbably by defending Johnny test.

    The show looks cheap, and most of the characters are generally dislikable.

    Still, the show has its charns, especially in the writing which is often quite clever with its occasional hints of satire, and parody of other shows.

  • Re’Nell Glover

    Also, Boomerang showed Season 6 episodes at times like 3am, BEFORE CN EVEN AIRED THEM!!!!!