by Jim McFarlin
On Wednesday, Nov. 30, a Los Angeles production company called Visionaire Media filed a lawsuit against TLC, alleging the network stole the idea it pitched them for an unscripted series about Muslim-Americans then produced it on their own through a former employee. The suit asks for monetary damages, plus a producer credit for Visionaire on the show. As of this posting, TLC has had no comment on the litigation.
On another front, All-American Muslim, which follows the everyday lives of five Muslim-American families and airs at 10 p.m. Sundays, is being blasted by ultraconservative activist groups who are decrying the series as the most insidious type of propaganda.
Noted anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller, executive director of the organization Stop Islamization of America, recently was quoted as saying, “Clearly this program is an attempt to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to bully them into thinking that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.
“The problem is not people. It’s ideology. The show doesn’t address that.”
Another group, the Florida Family Association, says it has initiated an advertiser boycott against what it describes as a “propaganda show,” contacting companies whose commercials appear during the broadcast and asking them to quit. So far, the organization claims, nearly 20 companies have agreed to pull their ads from the series at their urging.
All-American Muslim premiered to strong ratings in November amid a torrent of publicity and critical praise, beating the hot new Showtime series Homeland in the same time period, but the publicity has faded and the audience has slowly followed suit. The Washington Post has hailed the show as a “much-needed primer,” while The Atlantic called it “one of the best new shows of the fall.” TLC has not announced whether it will renew All-American Muslim for another cycle of episodes in 2012.