CBS asks court to block premiere of 'Glass House'

UPDATED: CBS released the following statement Friday: “The public announcements from ABC and their producers own testimony about Glass House clearly point to a program that will replicate virtually every element of Big Brother. And, the deposition testimony included in our court filing further demonstrates the brazen lengths that former Big Brother producers have gone to use confidential material, obtained while under our employment, to develop this show.”

CBS has fired the next salvo against Glass House, ABC’s new reality show that looks suspiciously similar to the Eye’s long-running franchise Big Brother. Late Thursday, an outside attorney for the network filed for a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court to prevent ABC from premiering the hidden camera show on June 18.

The network is already in the discovery phase of a lawsuit it filed last month in United States District Court that alleges, among other complaints, copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation and breach of fiduciary against ABC and its parent, The Walt Disney Company. Glass House features 14 contestants living together in a house rigged with cameras and, like, Big Brother, will feature weekly challenges and eliminations. The last one standing wins $250k. 

According to CBS’ latest filing, the network goes into more specifics about the alleged copycatting. “A copycat show (Glass House) has poached more than half of its staff from an established competitor (Big Brother), a number one show that CBS has been broadcasting for 13 seasons. Glass House’s show runner (who himself used to work in a senior position on BB) has admitted under oath that for months, he consulted BB’s confidential materials in designing key aspects of the upstart show, he told his Glass House staffer to ‘type up’ at least 50 pages’ worth of BB confidential materials and trades secrets, which then were plagiarized into Glass House’s internal materials, while developing the upstart show, he watched old episodes of BB to remind himself how BB’s stories were told, and after the lawsuit began, he destroyed documents pertaining to the suit.”

CBS goes on to address that while it may be “rare” for a court to stop a show from premiering, “no previous case features what this one does — a strategic mass poaching of employees by a competitor and admitted copying of the competitor’s internal documents with destruction of the defendants’ documents, all as a prelude to two virtually identical shows.” The Eye also retained an expert who said “Glass House has replicated the expression of Big Brother from top to bottom.”

ABC released this statement Thursday in response to the court filing made electronically by CBS: “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.”

Meanwhile, production continues on Glass House, which is based in the San Fernando Valley soundstage that’s located west of ABC’s Burbank headquarters. Viewers can start checking out the house and start voting on aspects of the show starting Saturday, June 9, via abc.com

For more:

CBS sues ABC for developing ‘Glass House’
First look at ABC’s ‘Glass House’


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