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CBS threatens to sue ABC over ''I'm a Celebrity''

CBS threatens to sue ABC over ”I’m a Celebrity.” The stranded-star reality show is too similar to ”Survivor,” CBS says

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Jeff Probst, Survivor: Thailand
Survivor Thailand: Monty Brinton/CBS

If you think ABC’s upcoming ”I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!”, in which stars will be stranded in a remote location and face one-by-one elimination, sounds familiar, you’re not alone. The makers of ”Survivor” think so, too, and they’ve threatened ABC and British producer Granada with legal action. Variety reports that CBS and Survivor Productions sent ABC and Granada a letter, saying that they have until Wednesday to promise in writing that ”they will not broadcast or license in the United States any programming that is based in whole or part on the ‘Celebrity’ series or that otherwise infringes any intellectual property rights in ‘Survivor.”’

The action comes at the same time as the U.K.’s Castaway Productions, which created ”Survivor,” sued Granada over the British version of ”I’m a Celebrity…”, which was a TV hit this summer. Castaway, owned in part by former Boomtown Rats singer and Live Aid benefit concert organizer Sir Bob Geldof, seeks damages and a copyright-infringement injunction. ”We made clear to… Castaway that we don’t consider our program in any way infringes their rights in ‘Survivor,”’ a Granada spokesperson told the Associated Press last week. As for the American cease-and-desist letter, ABC spokesman Kevin Brockman tells Variety, ”We just received the letter, and we’re in discussions with Granada about it and will decide upon a course of action once those discussions are completed.”

It’s not the first such dispute for CBS and Survivor Productions, which sued Fox and LMNO Productions last year over the alleged ”Survivor” similarities in Fox’s ”Boot Camp.” The two sides settled, and Fox revived the franchise Monday night with a one-shot special, ”Celebrity Boot Camp.”