Credit where credit is due? If we’re friends, let’s share! If it’s business, creative accounting.

So which group is the new Carrie ‘n’ friends?*

You’ve likely never watched either of the “new Sex in the City” shows this season, Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia. The only difference in substance I’ve figured out is that one has Lucy Liu, the other has Brooke Shields — and they both seem more like the female version of that horrible we-are-the-rich-white-mens-with-all-the-moneys show also from this season (not to say that Sex in the City was a realistic show, but the characters dealt with more than where to throw their/others money at.)

So why are there two almost identical shows on? It’s an issue of credit — and in this case and in many similar ones, the original author not believing that credit and the money that flows from it is going to her.

While most who know who Candace Bushnell know that she is the author of Sex and the City, her most famous book, and identify her with the show, few know that she was paid a small lump sum by the show…. and that was it. Even though more people associate her with this product and all of its “exciting” byproducts (note ironic/marketing quotes), than its executive producer Darren Star, he’s made more money from her original creation than she has (she got $60,000).

Lipstick Jungle is based on a newer Bushnell book; Cashmere Mafia on Darren Star’s “inspiration” after the relationship between the two soured, according to the New York Post:

Star “recreated his own version of Bushnell’s pilot, “Cashmere Mafia,” and sold it to ABC. … “Candace was actually living at Darren’s house when she was writing the pilot for her show,” said our source. “Candace called him to say how happy she was that NBC picked up her script, and Darren told her, ‘Oh, yeah, I have a similar project at ABC.’ She was devastated.”

A recent Los Angeles Times article about the creator of the Cheetah Girls, Deborah Gregory, shows how deliberate “creative” accounting prevents authors/creators from recouping profits from their creations. If you have been to a Disney store, Sears, or watched the Disney channel in the past five years (or have a tween girl, especially a tween girl of color, in your life), you have seen how much stuff — from albums to clothes to accessories have been based on the now at sixteen original novels about a singing group of minority teen girlfriends. And this Cheetah empire includes three movies starring Disney real-world star-princess Raven.

“Though Gregory contracted for four percent of the Disney-related profits from her work, she has yet to recoup anything from Disney except for $175,000 for additional work she completed as a co-producer.”

”If anyone is getting rich on this formidable franchise, Gregory said, it’s not the woman who created it. “People think I must be living in a palace, when they think of the success of the Cheetah Girls,” she said, sitting in the cramped studio apartment she rents in Manhattan. “But look at this place. It’s a . . . dump.””

””I never dreamed things would turn out the way they did,” Gregory said, recalling the heady days when she first wrote The Cheetah Girls and the Disney Channel expressed interest. “I really believed I would be able to share in everything that was created, that I was going to be a participant. Well, honey, that was a sham.””

”Gregory’s 16 novels went on to sell an estimated 2-million copies for which she got $180,000 in advances. But beyond her title as a co-producer on both films, she had limited creative input as Disney turned her books into a TV and marketing phenomenon. And she didn’t share in the bounty.”

Still hold fast to the belief in the traditional and romantic idea of the artist creating — and then making money from their individual efforts? Often the credit and the money flows to others.

* Sorry, I couldn’t help but include Girlfriends — the only semi-realistic recent show about four women who juggle jobs, friends, and sometimes husbands/boyfriends, and over the course of the show, three kids. Yes, it was a sitcom — with all that entails, yet was a vast improvement on Sex and the City. They change careers! And pay bills! And move! And are broke! And date/marry/divorce/remarry/stay single! And … it’s cancelled.

Edit: Due to this post being hit with lots of spam, we’ve turned off commenting for this and a couple of other posts.

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