NEW YORK (AP) _ Mike Nichols and Elaine May are fuming over a cable series, ``The Fifties: The Burning Desire,'' which they claim used one of their comedy sketches illegally.

A video clip of the duo's routine ``The Teen-agers'' was aired without permission, they allege in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against A&E Television Networks and the show's producer.

The sketch, a look at sexual attitudes and mores of the '50s, was first televised in 1958 on ``The Perry Como Show.'' In April 1998, a clip of it was broadcast in a segment of the six-part series ``The Fifties'' on The History Channel, a unit of A&E.

The defendants are the Toronto-based producer, The Fifties Inc.; A&E; and The History Channel. Nichols and May seek $25,000 in damages and a ban on continued use of their material.

Series director Alex Gibney said he was unaware of the lawsuit, but ``for them to allege that we hadn't bothered to get permission for the clip would be incorrect.''

Gary Morganstein, vice president of public affairs for the network, said, ``We have not been served with any papers and we have no comment.''