Sounds like a great idea for a TV show. So much so that CMT is debuting "Redneck Rehab" on September 15, hosted by comedian Tom Arnold.
The problem is that "Redneck Rehab" is one of my signature stand-up bits and has been since the 90's. I've performed the bit coast-to-coast from Carolines on Broadway to the Improv. It's been filmed by Comedy Central twice (a Viacom company along with CMT). Sirius XM regularly plays the bit as part of a routine entitled "Haunted Mobile Home" on Laugh USA. And redneck rehab has been on YouTube since 2006:
Recorded December 29, 2004, BTI Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh, NC
Here's another site that references redneck rehab from 2002, and I have many other audio and video recordings dating back at least to 1999.
An official press release about the show states: "In the series premiere, Patrick Higgs is an aspiring actor hooked on a high-end lifestyle complete with fancy cars and designer clothing. His life wasn’t always this way, however. Born into a nutty, dirt-loving, over-the-top redneck family, Patrick has since alienated his kin in pursuit of stardom."
Umm... yeah. That's right out of my act.
I've been ripped off before, but this one is particularly troubling. The concept for the show is lifted directly from my stand-up routine - a routine that Viacom has on videotape.
Is there anything I can do here? Any armchair lawyers care to chime in?