Writer: 'Ugly Betty' Jacked My Idea

"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" -- imdb.com says it's about an assistant who has to cover up a film director's scandalous lifestyle.

Zendel is suing for unspecified damages.

Paula Abdul Easy As ABC

Paula Abdul isn't missing a beat. Our spies say she spent part of the afternoon yesterday with ABC entertainment honcho Steve McPherson.

We're told Stevie M. wants Paula to be a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" in the worst way. We're told there was talk of making her a guest judge but that's not gonna happen, and we know why. Paula and Carrie Ann Inaba don't get along.

But McPherson, who's friends with Paula, wants more from her than "Dancing." There's talk of Paula doing a guest appearance on "Ugly Betty." And we're told Paula has a show in mind with her name on it.

As for that other show ... "American Idol" we think it's called ... Paula is not shutting the door. $10 million, and she's theirs.

Stay tuned...