Lieber is also credited on the movies Tuck Everlasting and Tangled, as well as having been the writer/executive producer for the unaired 2003/2004 pilot Hitched for FOX television. He has been blogging for DailyKos, a left-wing oriented blog discussing U.S. politics for over four years.
In 2003, ABC chairman Lloyd Braun pitched a concept which he described as Cast Away - The Series. Ted Gold, then employed at Spelling Productions, turned to Lieber and asked him to turn that pitch into a working concept. According to Lieber, Braun's series concept was pitched to him as a "hyperrealistic portrayal of life on a deserted island", and he came up with a setting similar to Lord of the Flies. In September 2003, Lieber pitched his premise, then named Nowhere, to ABC, and was then asked to write a pilot. Even though he was originally only asked for a few minor rewrites before it would be considered ready to start shooting, Lieber eventually ended up heavily rewriting his script. Ultimately, Lloyd Braun, still not satisfied with Lieber's script, fired him. Lieber recalled that he had never been specifically told what exactly the problem was.
Soon afterwards, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof were hired to overhaul the concept, which eventually ended up as Lost. Upon learning about this, Lieber felt that he deserved a credit for his work and complained to the Writers Guild of America, whereupon ABC and Touchstone argued that Lieber's initial concept had nothing to do with the show that was now being developed. Lieber managed to get his hands on a shooting script for the pilot and drew parallels between characters in the shooting script and those from his own script. The WGA eventually ruled in Lieber's favor (the arbitration panel split 2-1), granting him a 60% creatorship credit, with the remaining 40% being split between Abrams and Lindelof.
This was more than Lieber had hoped for, and he now feels outright embarrassed for being credited for something he himself admits he didn't really have anything to do with. Upon watching the pilot, Lieber was shocked about how the "hyperrealistic" concept that had originally been pitched to him had turned into "Jurassic Park", referring to the Monster and the polar bear. Lieber suggests that he would have been "laughed out of the room" had he pitched his concept the way the show eventually ended up. In 2005, Lieber even received an Emmy nomination for his (credited) participation in the writing of the pilot.
Some former members of ABC's development team feel that Lieber's credit is undeserved, arguing that the alleged similarities between characters would have been the same under any writer. To this day, Lieber receives annual royalties in the "low six figures" for his credited contribution to the show's creation. In September of 2009, Lieber's original Nowhere pilot script surfaced on the internet.
Lieber has not had any further input into the direction of Lost.
- Chicago Magazine - August 2007 - "Cast Away" - article on Lieber
- Jeff Lieber's DailyKos Diary posts - DailyKos is a blog about U.S. politics where Jeff has been posting since February 2004.
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