Lawsuit claims Baretta producer wrote pilot for show similar to ABC's hit in 1977.
Eerie coincidences aren't unusual in ABC's Lost -- in fact, they're a driving force of the show's twisting-and-turning storyline. But television producer Anthony Spinner has a Lost co-inky-dink that isn't going to go over well at ABC.
According to court documents acquired by the gossip-hounds at TMZ.com, Spinner, a former producer on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Baretta, is suing ABC, claiming the company stole the idea for Lost from a television pilot he wrote way back in 1977.
If his claims are accurate, he may have a case. Spinner points out several similarities from his pilot script -- also titled Lost -- that are enough to make even the most rabid Lost fan look twice. His script allegedly features a Los Angeles-bound plane crashing in a tropical environment, "cold-weather animals in a warm tropical jungle" (Lost uses a polar bear, Spinner used a saber-toothed tiger), and the use of pre-crash flashbacks to provide character development, among other parallel plot points.
There are also striking similarities between characters, says Spinner, including a doctor who leads the group (Jack), a "trailblazer" who tries to convince the survivors to make the island home (Locke), a drug addict (Charlie), a military man whose skills are used for survival (Sayid), and a "stubborn and reluctant semi-hero" who challenges the doctor and has a shady father-son past (Sawyer).
Spinner, age 79, is suing for damages and a share of profits. He reportedly tried to sue a few years ago, but the suit was dismissed for procedural reasons. ABC has yet to comment.
We'll watch to see how this pans out (most suits of this nature don't go anywhere), but we'll also keep an eye out for proof that this could just be another case of creative publicity for Lost. It may be the conspiracy theorist in us, but 1977 -- the year Spinner's script was allegedly written -- is also the year season five ended in Lost's timeline. Maybe Spinner is from the Dharma Initiative? It wouldn't surprise us one bit if he made a special appearance at Comic-Con (which is, conveniently, less than two weeks away) as the Lost panel's "special guest."