After it failed to block the Monday premiere of ABC’s The Glass House over similarities to its own Big Brother, CBS is hitting back with a tongue-in-cheek “press release” about new reality series Dancing On The Stars. Read the spoof announcement below. Meanwhile, the judge handling CBS’ request for a temporary restraining order against ABC and Glass House has yet to hand down his official ruling after declining to grant the TRO at a hearing Friday, when he also said he was leaning towards denying the request. It will likely come down by end of this week. In addition to laying out the similarities between Big Brother and Glass House, CBS also has argued that the ABC series is being produced by former Big Brother producers in violation of nondisclosure agreements. Despite the publicity surrounding the legal battle, Glass House premiered to soft ratings on Monday premiere, earning a 1.6/4 in 18-49.
CBS ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF “DANCING ON THE STARS,” AN EXCITING AND COMPLETELY ORIGINAL REALITY PROGRAM THAT OWES ITS CONCEPT AND EXECUTION TO NOBODY AT ALL
Los Angeles, June 21, 2012 – Subsequent to recent developments in the creative and legal community, CBS Television today felt it was appropriate to reveal the upcoming launch of an exciting, ground-breaking and completely original new reality program for the CBS Television Network.
The dazzling new show, DANCING ON THE STARS, will be broadcast live from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and will feature moderately famous and sort of well-known people you almost recognize competing for big prizes by dancing on the graves of some of Hollywood’s most iconic and well-beloved stars of stage and screen.
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UPDATE: CBS issued the following statement after today’s court hearing.
“We appreciate the court’s continuing consideration of this case and our request for an injunction. Win, lose or draw on the temporary restraining order, we intend to proceed with our claims against Disney/ABC for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets over The Glass House, which may still warrant more injunction proceedings depending on the content of each episode. At the same time we will move forward with our individual claims for liability and liquidated damages against any current The Glass House producer who violated their Big Brother confidentiality agreement.”
PREVIOUS: CBS today lost its request for a temporary restraining order against ABC’s Glass House, at least for now. “There is no injunction from the bench today, said Judge Gary Feess at the end of today’s hearing. “I think it is unlikely I will change my inclination but I do want to look at any materials again.” The judge said he would issue a formal order soon. Conceding that Glass House will likely debut on Monday as planned, CBS lawyer Scott Edelman said after the hearing he was “disappointed” by the judge’s refusal to issue the TRO. “This was step one to prevent the show from airing, but we will continue with discovery and the trade secrets issue.” ABC representatives would only say, “listen to what the judge said, that was our argument.”
With 80 … Read More »
UPDATE – 2:55 PM ABC issued the following statement today in response to CBS’s lastest legal salvo to get a temporary restraining order against the production and June 18 debut of the reality series Glass House.
CBS’s submission today underscores the frivolous nature of their claims. This entire dispute apparently boils down to the fact that both shows feature a blonde woman, both shows feature people talking in hot tubs, and both shows feature red chairs and brown pillows. CBS cannot lay ownership to the entire genre of reality television and prevent America’s viewers from watching ABC’s new and original reality show.
UPDATE: Later today, Judge Gary Feess ruled that CBS be allowed to file its documents in support of its TRO request under seal.
PREVIOUS: ABC’s Glass House “is a copy of Big Brother,” a copyright expert said today. Based on footage that ABC has put up online this week, CBS filed a declaration (read it here) from Jeff Rovin. A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning on CBS’ request for a temporary restraining order to stop production on Glass House and halt its June 18 premiere. ABC began putting footage of the house and its inhabitants online earlier this week. “ABC and its creative team have introduced virtually nothing new in the way of staging, camera work, setting, narrative, wardrobe and anything else that comprise the expression of Big Brother,” said Rovin in the screenshot-heavy 11-page declaration.
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CBS is getting its day in court to get a temporary restraining order that would stop the June 18 premiere of ABC’s Glass House. Judge Gary Feess today set a hearing for first thing Friday morning for the networks’ lawyers to plead their case before him. The judge could make a ruling at the time to stop production on the ABC show and prevent the premiere from airing. This comes one day after CBS responded to ABC’s opposition on Monday to the TRO request that CBS filed last week. The two networks have engaged in a series of legal shots since CBS sued ABC over Glass House on May 10. CBS says Glass House is a blatant rip-off of its Big Brother, a claim ABC rejects. The announcement of the TRO hearing comes the same day CBS asked ABC to turn over hundreds of pages of documents, emails and even tweets on Glass House as part of the ongoing discovery process (read that request here). CBS is represented by Scott Edelman, Michael Seitz, Theane Evangelis Kapur and Blaine Evanson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. ABC is represented by Glenn Pomerantz, Jonathan Altman and Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke of Munger, Tolles & Olson.
CBS wasted no time replying to ABC’s opposition to a temporary retraining order on its upcoming reality show Glass House. “The clear theft and use of CBS’s material, coupled with the admitted destruction of emails, clearly warrants a TRO at this stage,” read the 28-page reply filed this afternoon (read it here). “And ABC’s protestations that injunctive relief would harm their business are of no moment because any harm is of their own making…” The legal reply comes less that 24 hours after ABC filed its opposition to CBS’ TRO request of late last week to halt the June 18 premiere of Glass House. CBS alleges that Glass House is a blatant rip-off of its Big Brother. “Defendants offer a supposed parade of horribles if Glass House is not allowed to air. But Defendants miss the most important point: any harm to ABC is a direct result of ABC’s own illegal conduct and so should not bar injunctive relief,” today’s CBS filing says.
In its opposition filing yesterday, ABC said it would suffer hardship and significant harm for the reality show’s success if the TRO was granted. The network says it has spent $16 million promoting the show. Judge Gary Feess is expected to make a ruling on a TRO hearing before the end of the week.
ABC has just filed its opposition to CBS’ request for a temporary restraining order that would halt production on the reality show Glass House and prevent its June 18 premiere, for which ABC says it has already spent over $16 million in marketing. (You can read the filing here.) On May 10, CBS sued ABC and several former Big Brother employees who now work on Glass House over the ABC reality series. The lawsuit alleges copyright infringement, with the new series called a blatant rip-off of Big Brother, trade-secret misappropriation, unfair competition, breach of contract and conspiracy among other claims. With the discovery stage of the proceeding dragging on, CBS last week filed a petition for a temporary restraining order.
In its opposition today, ABC asks the court to deny CBS’ application. The network argues that “CBS’s copyright claim will not succeed” as “none of the alleged similarities shared by Big Brother and The Glass House involve copyright protectable elements — they are all generic staples of the reality show genre: people living in a house, competing with each other to avoid elimination, and winning a prize. Nor is the sequence and arrangement of these unprotectable elements the same in Big Brother and The Glass House, foreclosing the possibility of infringement.” Addressing the rest of the CBS claims, ABC says that “there was no conspiracy to hire away Big Brother employees” and “that here is no ‘secret sauce’ in Big Brother’s production process” that could’ve been misappropriated. Read More »
Breaking … A federal judge today has denied ABC’s efforts to slow down CBS’ desire for a temporary restraining order to shut down alleged Big Brother rip-off Glass House. ABC now has until 5 PM Monday to file any opposition to the TRO request CBS filed late last night. Once ABC, who had asked for a more expedited schedule on any TRO, file their material, CBS lawyers will likely respond by the next day. All of which means a hearing on the TRO request to shut down production and the June 18 debut of Glass House will likely occur sometime next week. Judge Gary Feess made the ruling (Read it here) in chambers after a series of legal moves on both networks’ parts throughout the day. CBS sued ABC and several former Big Brother producers on May 10 claiming that ABC’s new reality show Glass House is a blatant copyright infringement of their series. ABC has rejected the claims and the two are now locked in a legal battle with the clock ticking.
CBS, in its initial suit, cited copyright infringement, trade-secret misappropriation, unfair competition, breach of contract and conspiracy among other claims. ABC countered by saying that there was “no merit” to CBS’ lawsuit. The two networks have been fighting over the discovery side of the case, going back and forth over who wil share what with who — an approach CBS calls “ABC’s … Read More »
With the June 18 premiere date for ABC’s new reality series Glass House looming, the legal scuffle over it between CBS and ABC has intensified. CBS at midnight filed a request for a temporary restraining order against ABC trying to block the Glass House debut after a judge-approved schedule for the discovery stage of the proceedings made a ruling before the Glass House premiere highly unlikely. CBS filed the lawsuit against ABC last month, claiming Glass House was a copycat of its own Big Brother, and it is being made by former Big Brother producers using know-how they’ve acquired on Big Brother that is protected by non-disclosure agreements. This morning, ABC responded to CBS’ filing with a motion that opposes CBS’ TRO request. It calls CBS’ proposed TRO schedule — which asks for TRO proceedings to begin immediately, with ABC responding by noon on Monday and CBS replying the following day so the court could render a decision by June 18 — “ridiculous” and asks the court to reject it. ABC argues that “CBS has made its own bed by stubbornly refusing to negotiate a reasonable schedule and instead engaging in scorched-earth litigation tactics.” Read More »
UPDATE 12:15 AM – As expected, CBS filed an application tonight for a temporary restraining order to “cease production of, and refrain from broadcasting, the show Glass House until the trial of this matter…” The 37-page document also adds that “if the Court is not willing to order Defendants to cease production of Glass House at this time, CBS respectfully requests that, at a minimum, the Court order Defendants to produce the first taped episode of Glass House by June 15, 2012 to allow CBS’s counsel to evaluate its contents, and to allow the parties to address it in any further briefing regarding CBS’s request for a preliminary injunction.” Glass House, which CBS contends is a rip-off of its Big Brother reality series, is set to debut on June 18, 2012.
UPDATE 8 PM: ABC has issued a statement slamming CBS‘ latest attempt to stop ABC’s new reality series Glass House.
This is a naked attempt by CBS to stifle competition and creativity by claiming that reality techniques that have been developed over many years, on many shows by countless producers, are somehow exclusive to CBS.
PREVIOUS: CBS’ outside counsel tonight will file for a temporary restraining order against ABC in an effort to prevent ABC from premiering the Big Brother-like new reality series Glass House on June 18. The filing will be made electronically at midnight with US District Court judge Gary Allen Feess. The move was expected as the discovery phase in CBS’ lawsuit against Disney and ABC over Glass House has been moving slowly, and a federal judge not expected to make a ruling in the case before June 15 at the earliest. That is the Friday before the Monday, June 18 scheduled debut of Glass House.
We’ve learned that the TRO request is based primarily on the deposition for former Big Brother producer Kenny Rosen, now executive producer/showrunner of Glass House. In a deposition with CBS lawyers last Sunday, he admitted to taking a copy of the Big Brother Guest Manual and having it typed up separately as part of a Glass House manual. Given that the manual is considered a proprietary document and viewed as highly confidential by CBS, the network lawyers will argue that that is a clear violation of the non-disclosure agreement Rosen signed when at Big Brother. Rosen also admitted about two-thirds through his depo that he “consulted” the Big Brother Master Control schedule in an effort to partially figure out how many people he would have to hire for the production of Glass House. Rosen’s attorney Devin McRae shut down the line of questioning at that point, claiming attorney/client privilege. But Rosen also allegedly revealed that even more former Big Brother staffers being employed by Glass House than previously known. He put the number at 25-30, half of the ABC series’ staff. He also acknowledged that development of Glass House at ABC started around the time former Big Brother producer Corie Henson joined the network as an executive in the unscripted department. Additionally, Rosen admitted to deleting Glass House-related emails after CBS had filed its lawsuit over the show. Read More »
The clock has partially run out on CBS’ legal attempt to stop production and the June 18 premiere of ABC’s new reality series Glass House, which CBS says is a rip-off of Big Brother. Today, a federal judge said he won’t decide until at least June 15 the battling networks’ dispute over the discovery process in the case. This means the time CBS has to look at documents and depositions to find out exactly how much Glass House resembles Big Brother so they can shut it down is very tight. To make matters more pressing for CBS, ABC has already announced the Glass House contestants and plans to offer voting viewers an online look at the house on Saturday. Of course, the plaintiff network isn’t out of options: CBS said in court documents filed yesterday that it will be seeking a temporary restraining order against Glass House while these matters are ongoing. Nothing had been filed as of Tuesday evening. Read More »
ABC and CBS may be locked in a legal battle over whether Glass House is a rip-off of Big Brother, but that didn’t stop ABC from naming the show’s 14 contestants today. Glass House is scheduled to debut June 18, and a peek at the new reality series will be up on ABC.com on June 9 for viewers to begin voting on elements of the show. Contestants are scheduled to move in June 11. CBS is attempting to get a court injunction to shut Glass House down, suing ABC on May 10 for copyright infringement, trade-secret misappropriation, unfair competition, breach of contract and conspiracy among other claims. The suit accuses the rival network of stealing Big Brother’s staff and concept, with CBS calling Glass House “a carbon copy” of Big Brother. ABC, which filed legal papers of its own, dismissed the lawsuit as having “no merit.”
The striking similarities between ABC‘s recently announced summer reality series The Glass House and CBS‘ veteran Big Brother were not lost on CBS brass. Four days after ABC’ announcement, CBS has fired a legal letter to ABC warning them that proceeding with the show will likely result in a legal action against it. (you can read the letter here.) Per ABC’s description, Glass House, executive produced by former Big Brother producer Kenny Rosen, features 14 contestants living and competing for a quarter million dollars in a wired, state-of-the-art house. “Given their behavior in this matter, we assume ABC will have no problem when we announce plans for our upcoming new series Dancin’ Wid Da Stars,” a CBS insider commented.
In the letter to Disney-ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney and Walt Disney Co.’s General Counsel Alan Braverman, CBS’ outside counselor Scott A. Edelman notes the “striking” similarities between the two shows — one (Big Brother) based on a 1999 Dutch format and one (Glass House) billed as original — which he claims are “establishing a classic case of copyright infringement”. He also contends that the ABC series “is produced by a team of at least 18 former members of CBS’ Big Brother production stuff — all of whom were privy to trade secrets and other confidential, proprietary information and signed broad and binding non-disclosure agreements in connection with Big Brother.” Named in the document are Rosen; ABC’s VP Alternative Programming … Read More »