Brian Belo is suing ITV and Lime Pictures, lodging a writ at the High Court this month alleging the firms committed breaches of copyright and confidence by taking the concept for his show Totally Essex.
The writ asks for an injunction to stop TOWIE being screened on ITV until he and his co-claimants give their permission, which they will only do once they’ve agreed a financial settlement.
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Brian Belo apparently hopes he will receive £4million.
The Big Brother star and his co-claimants Sassy Films and Massive TV claim their show had the same premise as TOWIE, and Amy Childs, Mark Wright and Kirk Norcross even starred in a trial promo.
A source claims Brian Belo has emails and texts that he believes prove TOWIE bosses considered him the creator of the show.
He also claims they sent him a contract in October 2010 offering him £2,500 for the rights to his show.
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ITV and Lime Pictures said in a joint statement: “The Only Way Is Essex is an original concept created and developed by an award-winning team at Lime Pictures.
“Brian Belo’s claim against Lime and ITV is totally without foundation and will be vigorously defended.”
The fifth series is due to return on April 15.