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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.