Stern files suit against ABC over 'Are You Hot?'

Saturday, March 15, 2003

— Howard Stern has sued ABC and the producers of the series "Are You Hot? The Search for America's Sexiest People," claiming the show is based on ideas that aired on his radio program.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Superior Court, accuses the network of copying "unique aspects" of a Stern radio segment in which members of his crew and guests evaluate the bodies of in-studio contestants. Stern is seeking $100 million in damages.

The 49-year-old radio personality claims ABC's show duplicates some tactics used on his show, including blunt criticism of contestants and the use of a laser pointer to highlight areas of their bodies.

"Are You Hot?" features contestants in various stages of dress posing in front of three panelists who rate them solely on looks. The show is produced by Scott Einziger, a former executive producer of Stern's E! cable show, and former Stern sidekick Jackie Martling is listed as a consultant.

Before ABC's program debuted, Stern was in talks to develop a TV series based on his radio segment, according to the lawsuit. He hoped to broadcast the show on a pay-cable channel. But when ABC aired "Are You Hot?" talks for a Stern TV show collapsed, the lawsuit said.