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‘They Took all the Producers I Had’: Steve Harvey Claims ‘America’s Got Talent’ Stole His Idea

Comedian and television host Steve Harvey says ABC’s hit show “America’s Got Talent” was originally his concept. However, since he was not a business-savvy creative, the executives were able to spin his idea and create their own version of it.

In an interview with “Earn Your Leisure,” the Ohio native talked about creating “Steve Harvey’s Big Time,” after telling the producers at the Apollo that the show that made him famous should be on a major network.

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 22: Television personality and host Steve Harvey speaks at the State Farm Color Full Lives Art Gallery during the 2016 State Farm Neighborhood Awards at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on July 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Nu-Opp, Inc)

He claimed that the showrunners didn’t understand the power of Harlem’s greatest talent search, a place where acts like The Jacksons, Lauryn Hill, and Fat Joe got their start.

“They didn’t believe me when I told them y’all ought to take ‘Showtime at Apollo’ and put it on mainstream TV, instead of having me come on at one o’clock in the morning,” the former host of the show said. “I said, ‘Let me give them a version of it.’”

It was with that, Harvey created and produced for the WB Network, “Steve Harvey’s Big Time Challenge,” which debuted in 2003 and ended in 2005.

One year later, another competition show hit the airwaves, similar to his new vision for “Showtime at the Apollo” and “Steve Harvey’s Big Time Challenge,” and Harvey believes the idea was a complete rip-off of his idea.

“Along comes ‘America’s Got Talent,’” he reveals. “Do you know what ‘America’s Got Talent’ is? Shows come from all over the world. They got different acts. They got three judges. And they got a star. Well, guess what that’s my IP. That’s my concept. That’s my whole thought but I had no business for it.”

America’s Got Talent, created by Simon Cowell, debuted in 2006.

“The first year of ‘America’s Got Talent’ was all acts from ‘Steve Harvey Big Time,’ and they took all the producers I had from ‘Steve Harvey Big Time’ and gave him jobs. If I understood my business ‘America’s Got Talent’ would belong to me,” he states.

Fans flooded the comments in disbelief but also understanding the lesson that he was teaching.

“Wowwww, this breaks my heart!” on person wrote.

Another wrote, “All mfers know how to do these days is steal. Gotta trademark, copyright, patent, watermark, nda everything, and its sad.”

“Message!” one commented. “Get the paperwork then let the papers work!”

The Daytime Emmy winner has certainly learned from that costly lesson. Now, he makes sure that has an executive producer credit on all of the programs that he is associated with, including his talk shows, movies, game shows, and his new series, “Judge Steve Harvey,”  making him, according to The Success Bug, one of Hollywood’s richest comedians ever.

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