Discussion: Comedy About Reporter Working At A Fox-Esque Network In The Works At ABC

Discussion for article #242514

Oh this one’s going to be snappy and fun, I can predict!

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Fox has previously used the slogan, “Fair and balanced” to describe its reporting.

Fox still owns the trademark.

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Really?! They’ve registered that?

I would check with Trump first.

Bo Derek is rumored to play Sean Hannity in this new project.

It’s still active. They could maybe use “Fair. Balanced. Unafraid.” Trademark is “dead”.

From Phil Hirschkorn
Friday, August 22, 2003 Posted: 7:25 PM EDT (2325 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) – Saying “This is an easy case,” a federal judge ruled Friday against Fox News in its lawsuit asserting that a book by liberal satirist Al Franken violates its trademarked slogan, “fair and balanced.”

Fox was seeking an injunction to halt distribution of “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin, after listening to about half an hour of oral arguments, said the lawsuit was “wholly without merit, both factually and legally.”

The 377-page book, which originally had a late September release date, went on sale Thursday.

Fox objected especially to its cover, which displays the “fair and balanced” phrase in its subtitle and an unflattering photograph of the news channel’s most popular host, Bill O’Reilly. It argued that the cover layout “is likely to cause confusion among consumers as to the origin and sponsorship of the book.”

The judge disagreed.

“There is no likelihood of confusion as to the origin and sponsorship of the book … or that consumers will be misled that Fox or Mr. O’Reilly are sponsors of the book,” he said.


That won’t however stop them from suing ABC over the name. I believe it is still a trade mark phrase of theirs, and being used by ABC, untied to any other wording to depict a comedy about a news station is quite a different lawsuit than trying to stop an author from using the words as part of a bigger title.

Franken used the words as they are defined (tongue in cheek, or as he likes to say, joking on the square). ABC is using them as a title, not as descriptive adjectives.

My guess is, it won’t end up in court, (unless ABC really wants to make a point) but instead, ABC will rename the show.

There was law passed after 2003, though not in response to the Franken suit, amending the anti-dilution act which codifies the common law distinction between “tarnishment” and “blurring" which wasn’t previously. They might or might not have a reasonable argument though as I’m not a trademark lawyer and all I can offer is


I’m not either. But my guess is there is enough grey area that they wouldn’t be laughed out of court by a judge. And that’s probably sufficient to make ABC change the name.

Of course, ABC might be willing to go to court and view it as publicity for a new show.


Not a lawyer either but thats not stopping us here. It seems like “fair and balanced” is way too common a phrase to actually receive a trademark. I wonder if the phrase actually trademarked is more like “Fox News - Fair and Balanced.” (creepy just typing that), much the same way that “Photoshop” is not trademarked, but “Adobe Photoshop” is.

All they’d have to do is change the slogan to ‘balanced and fair’, and that would solve everything.

I hope they cast Borat as Bill O’Reilly’s character. And he walks around with a loofah over his private parts.

so ABC becomes the hemroid on Rodger Ailes’ arse, and they shift their attention away from NBC? oh wait ABC is owned by Disney. Rodger is coming for Mickey Mouse.! LOL

Oh my goodness… this reminded me of Lil’ Bush…

"FX Nws Scks"*** as a title might attract a large enough audience for ratings success. It would seem roughly 50% of the country would immediately be on board with the concept.

(and to @JohnScotus, @theghostofeustacetilley, and everyone else) Franken’s hilarious discussing this case, which apparently was literally laughed out of court. There’s an entertaining short documentary about it:

And if this actually ends up on ABC I’ll eat my hat. It’d be a profoundly healthy sign for the country if it did, but I’m guessing that if it becomes a show it’ll land on cable (not that that’d be a bad thing at all).

Trump trademarked “Make America Great Again” and was pursuing but abandoned “Trumpublicans” and “Trumpocrats.” Taylor Swift trademarked “Shake it Off” and I think one of the Kardashians is trying to trademark her name.

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