Three weeks after reports first surfaced that the producers of Spain’s time-travel series El Ministerio del Tiempo (The Ministry of Time) were considering legal action against NBC’s Timeless, a lawsuit has been filed, claiming that the Peacock drama’s producers, Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan, in concert with Sony Pictures Television and NBC Universal, “conspired to steal” and ultimately “ripped off” their concept.
NBC’s Timeless follows a female history professor, a soldier and a scientist who are recruited by a mysterious government organization to travel through time to stop a villain from affecting past events. El Ministerio del Tiempo meanwhile chronicles (as the lawsuit cited by Deadline puts it) “the adventures of a three-person government team” — a female student, a Marine and a doctor — “traveling through time to thwart undesired changes to past events.”
Onza Entertainment, the producers of the Spanish format — which has been licensed to China, France, Italy, Portugal and other parts of Latin America — claim in the lawsuit that in April 2015 they met with and supplied a DVD copy of their series to a Gersh talent agency partner, who even suggested that Kripke and Bed Edlund would be a good fit to shepherd an American adaptation. Three months later, Sony proposed a deal to produce an American version of El Ministerio del Tiempo.
One month after that, it was announced that NBC was developing Time (as Timeless was originally titled) with Kripke and Ryan — at which time Sony, the suit claims, cut off its talks with Onza.
NBC and Sony do not comment on pending litigation.