Brian Belo is suing The Only Way is Essex bosses for allegedly stealing his idea.
The former Big Brother winner has issued a High Court writ against ITV and Lime Pictures claiming the ITV2 reality show was originally his idea, and he is demanding more than £100,000 in compensation.
Brian claims to have pitched a promotional episode to the producer called Totally Essex featuring him and some of his friends Amy Childs, Mark Wright, Sam Faiers, and Kirk Norcross.
In his writ, the 24-year-old star alleges there was a "breach of confidence" and an infringement of copyright and claims the company "reproduced or adapted part of a format that he created".
A spokesman for Brian's solicitor confirmed to the Daily Star: "The writ has been issued."
TOWIE could be facing the axe if Brian wins his case, but both ITV and Lime Pictures insist the show was an "original concept".
In a joint statement, ITV and Lime Pictures said: "The Only Way is Essex is an original concept created and developed by an award-winning team at Lime Pictures after he pitched the idea to the producers.
"Belo's claim against Lime and ITV is totally without foundation and will be vigorously defended.
"The creative team at Lime Pictures is very proud of TOWIE, and the notion that it was not entirely their own work is a serious allegation which is completely refuted."