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Anthony Spinner, a television producer whose credits include Baretta and Babes in Toyland, is suing ABC and Touchtone Television with the claim that he created the tv show Lost 32 years ago. Spinner says that he wrote a television pilot for the network in 1977 titled Lost, which contains many ideas and characters that Spinner claims were later used for the hit television series Lost.

Spinner was paid $30,000 to write a TV pilot, but the network passed on the show in 1977, 1991 and 1994. Spinner is suing for damages and a cut of royalties, profits among other things. You might be wondering why Spinner waited five years to sue. Well, apparently he tried to file a lawsuit a few years back but it was dismissed for procedural reasons.

A list comparing the two shows has been leaked to TMZ which accounts for a lot of similar storylines and characters. His show featured a airplane headed to Los Angeles which crashes into a tropical jungle-like island, and tells the story of the survivors through the use of flashback sequences to their regular lives, pre-crash. The castaways included:

  • Doctor (Jack?) who was the humanitarian voice of the group,
  • Trailblazer (Locke?) who challenges the group to accept that they are stuck on the island,
  • Strategic military man (Sayid?),
  • Stubborn and reluctant semi-her (Sawyer?) who challenges the leadership and has a dark father-son past,
  • Drug addicted survivor (Charlie?),
  • Physically fit young woman who can perform many of the same tasks as the men (Kate?),
  • An ethnic minority character (Sayid?) that has to deal with the racial slurs from another survivor (Sawyer?),
  • Lone survivor of a scientific expedition (Roussau?) is found with gunpowder, secure shelter, and a relationship with others who were on the island before them (The Others)
  • Female lead with criminal past (Kate?)

The show also involved a love triangle like Jack/Kate/Sawyer, the discovery of a cold weather animal in the warm tropical jungle (a saber tooth tiger instead of a Polar Bear), and a raft built that is destroyed by the natives.

And of course, there is always the possibility that the two shows stumbled onto a lot of the same ideas. Most of the characters are regular archetypes. Concepts like love triangles and natives on the island aren’t exactly original, and could have easily come from taking the idea to their logical conclusions. That said, the concept, complete with character-based flashbacks, is awfully similar. Who knows if these claims are accurate, but the producer seems a little bit more credible than the usual crazy crackpot.

It should be noted that some people believe this is just viral marketing for the show, especially considering that the teleplay was written in 1977.

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