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Judge Rules for Fox

Fox has effectively countered The Contender's first punch, with Los Angeles Judge Linda Lefkowitz denying DreamWorks Television's and Mark Burnett Productions' request to enjoin The Next Great Champ.

Judge Lefkowitz of the Los Angeles Superior Court in Santa Monica scheduled a hearing for Sept. 8, in which both sides will present their cases.

Fox called the ruling a "significant victory for The Next Great Champ. In an effort to protect themselves from fair competition, it is particularly disingenuous that they are using the guise of 'protecting the public,' when in fact what they are really attempting to protect is their pocketbook."

Dreamworks and Contender Partners, the joint venture of Dreamworks and Burnett that is producing NBC's The Contender, both said the ruling was a win for them.

"According to the former chairman of the California State Athletic Commission, the rules that Fox has violated in its attempt to rush its show onto the air are important regulations designed for the protection of athletes in a sport notorious for corruption," said Contender Partners in a statement.
"If 'victory' to Fox means being the focus of a 150-page investigative report which cites numerous criminal violations and a superior court hearing to consider those violations, than not surprisingly, they have a very different set of standards than we do."
Fox's The Next Great Champ, produced by Endemol USA and Oscar de la Hoya's Goldenboy Productions, is scheduled to premiere Sept. 10. NBC's The Contender, featuring Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard, is planned for November.