Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson Sued Over ‘Ballers’
Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson have been slapped with a lawsuit amid allegations they stole the idea for their hit TV series Ballers. Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton have filed suit against the actors and bosses at HBO, claiming they originated the idea of a show based around the sports industry, called Off Season, in 2007.
According to legal papers obtained by editors at TMZ.com, the plaintiffs allege they had been working with Wahlberg, Johnson and their manager to develop the project, but the deal fell apart in 2009, after Silas and Littleton insisted their names feature in the credits for creating the series. They also note a slew of striking similarities between the plot of Off Season and Ballers, noting the storylines are both set in Miami, Florida and both revolve around African-American football players and their lives away from the field. Silas and Littleton even accuse the defendants of lifting the Ballers name from a title for one of their episodes. They are demanding unspecified damages. Stephen Levinson is listed as the creator of Ballers, which stars Johnson as Spencer Strasmore, a retired National Football League player-turned-financial manager. Wahlberg and Johnson, who have yet to comment on the lawsuit, serve as executive producers of the comedy, which premiered in June with a pilot episode directed by Lone Survivor filmmaker Peter Berg. Ballers is set to return for a second season in 2016.