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Writer: 'Ugly Betty' Jacked My Idea

4/19/2010 9:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

"Ugly Betty" just went off the air and now a writer/director is claiming the show's producers, including ABC and Touchstone, ripped off her idea -- this according to a federal lawsuit.

In the court documents, filed today in federal court in Los Angeles, Azita Zendel says she wrote a screenplay which became the movie "Controlled Chaos" -- and that several episodes of 'Betty' are similar to her movie. 

According to the docs, Zendel claims the producers of 'Betty' got their hands on her project because she submitted it to them for a possible distribution deal -- but instead they allegedly used it without compensating her.

In case you never saw (or even heard of) "Controlled Chaos" -- says it's about an assistant who has to cover up a film director's scandalous lifestyle.

Zendel is suing for unspecified damages.


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Actually Ugly Betty is based on the Colombian soap opera Yo Soy Betty, la fea. Which aired in 1999 sooooooo that director is screwed.

1646 days ago


"Ugly Betty" for those who doesn't know, is the American version of a Colombian novela called "Betty,la fea" it people...

1646 days ago


This show is SOOOO stupid! That actress who plays Ugly Betty is GORGEOUS! Hollywood nitwits think throwing some glasses on her will make her ugly; she has flawless skin, perfect eyes and hair, etc, these idiotic TV execs can't even make someone look ugly in Hollywood, the ugly girl is still gorgeous. MORONS.

1646 days ago


Have grapes ever tasted soooo sour??

1646 days ago


That would be the good article certainly made this segment amazing.Keep it up!

1646 days ago


Disgusting and morid..But fascinating.

1646 days ago


Why the HELL did he wait till now???

1646 days ago


Honestly "Yo soy Betty, la fea" was much better than "Ugly Betty"; but it came long before "Ugly Betty" (as has been noted) so dude hasn't really got a case.

1646 days ago


This show is based in a Colombian Soap Opera..this yakes away any basis for any suit or claim from this poor looser

1646 days ago


Besides the Colombian version, there was a very popular Mexican version, La Fea Mas Bella & the main character's name is Lety. This version was still going on here in L.A. when the American version started. The very popular Mexican actress, Angelica Vale, played Lety and in fact appeared on an episode of Ugly Betty. If Azita Zendel spoke Spanish, perhaps she stole the story from the previous two versions. The 1st Yo Soy Betty, la fea was in 1999 & Ms. Zendel's Chaos was in 2003

1646 days ago

Shady's Lady    

Maybe she was high and ...oh dag I forgot

1646 days ago


A lot of the people who posted comments seriously need to re-read the news brief. Its not a director suing the producers but a screen writer / director and he is in fact a she.
She is suing them for allegedly using plot points or elements (that means story lines or characters etc) of her "Controlled Chaos" screen play without compensation.
She is NOT claiming she invented the concept of the show, so I have no idea why so many of you are talking about the origins of UB in relation to the lawsuit, its irrelevant.
This sort of thing happens all the time, its just never news worthy because most lawsuits are settled quickly. The fact that we are hearing about this probably means that Azita Zendel actually might have a case, but having said that, copyright cases ofthis sort can be very complicated.

1641 days ago


I hope this idiot adds "Yo Soy Betty la Fea" to this asinine lawsuit.

That would be awesome.

1641 days ago

yolanda fuston    

Hello my name is Yolanda Fuston and tons of people told me Ugly Betty was written in do***entary to my life, my pictures the observance of me, plus all the positive and negative publicity about me, alot have asked why I have not gotten VIP and Royalties from this show, and I am asking the producers the same question.

756 days ago

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