Fox Isn’t Laughing About an ABC Sitcom Called ‘Fair and Balanced’

Comedy co-opts slogan Fox News trademarked in 1997

Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes isn't amused by ABC's plans for a comedy called Fair and Balanced. The show, from ABC and Lionsgate, stars Kal Penn as a journalist who aspires to work for NPR, but instead takes a job at a cable news network that resembles Fox News Channel.

Ailes, who was a comedy writer earlier in his career, told Adweek he doesn't find the idea of co-opting Fox's trademarked slogan at all funny. "They ought to call it an attempt at liberal comedy which will fail," Ailes said. "People tried to poke at this, and the whole Fair and Balanced concept. They wouldn't know fair and balanced if it hit them in the ass with a fish."

Fox trademarked "Fair and Balanced" in 1997 and is looking into its use in the proposed title of the ABC sitcom. The series is currently in script development. ABC will decide by February whether to move ahead with a pilot.

Still, Ailes is ready for a fight. "I might have the lawyers call," he said, adding, "I've got 24 hours a day to trash ABC programming. You guys can't program your way out of the men's room.

"I have friends at ABC. Why do I want to trash these poor dumb bastards. But I thought, all right, one more guy's going to pick a fight with everybody else. Let's go," Ailes concluded.

This is not the first time Fair and Balanced has been used as a comedic trope against the news network. In 2003, Fox dropped a lawsuit against comedian-turned-Senator Al Franken and his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.