The new E! show "Pop Fiction" sounds like a complete rip off of another pitch -- "Celebrities Strike Back." Oh, by the way -- it was pitched by Anna Nicole Smith more than three years ago and there could be a lawsuit.
"Pop Fiction," produced by Ashton Kutcher's Katalyst Television, debuted last night. It seems identical to a treatment obtained by TMZ that Anna Nicole registered with the Writers Guild in 2004. Now get this -- in 2004, Anna Nicole and Howard K. Stern met with Jeff Shore and Jay James, both programming execs for E!. They pitched the show and sent Shore the treatment.
We're also told Anna Nicole and Howard K. met with then E! Prez Ted Harbert in 2004 and also raised the show.
Ashton's show sounds like a carbon of Anna's treatment -- "...what happens if Anna Nicole Smith and other celebrities turn the tables and capitalize off of the overzealous media? What if the next big supposed scandal is not a scandal at all? What if everything is staged, but the media (and the public) don't know it?" It continues, Anna Nicole and other celebrity guests take aim at the media and push all the limits."
That's Ashton Kutcher's show and we're told Howard K. has already threatened suit. What is really pissing him off is that he and Anna had multiple meetings with E!. Two months ago, Stern spoke with E! again on behalf of the estate and the network seemed intrigued by making Larry Birkhead the celeb to do the first prank and then host the show. Ultimately Jay James said it just wouldn't work. Oh really?
UPDATE: A rep for E! tells us, "'Pop Fiction' is a program independently created and developed by Ashton Kutcher's company, Katalyst. 'Pop Fiction' is not based on any idea or concept that may have been pitched to E! by any other party."