CBS sues ABC over ''Survivor''-like celeb reality show
Making good on a threat issued a few weeks ago, CBS is suing ABC over its planned February sweeps series, ”I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” At the end of September, CBS sent ABC a cease-and-desist letter, arguing that the proposed stranded-star show was too similar to ”Survivor.” After ABC’s apparent lack of response, Reuters reports that CBS and Survivor Productions (the company owned jointly by the network and ”Survivor” producer Mark Burnett) filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, seeking unspecified damages and an injunction to stop ABC from airing the show.
The suit echoes similar litigation pending against Granada, the British company that created ”I’m a Celebrity…” and aired it in the U.K. this summer. Castaway Productions, which owns the rights to the British version of ”Survivor,” sued Granada, arguing that ”I’m a Celebrity…” copied ”Survivor” by marooning its contestants in a remote and forbidding location (the Australian Outback, home to season 2 of the American ”Survivor”), feeding them only rice and water, having them compete in physical and mental challenges, and subjecting them to one-by-one elimination. Now that ABC wants to import ”I’m a Celebrity…” from Granada, the American plaintiffs are lodging the same complaints. ”We have not yet seen the complaint, so we can’t comment,” an ABC spokesperson told Reuters.
Last year, CBS and Survivor Productions sued Fox and LMNO Productions over the alleged similarities of ”Boot Camp” to ”Survivor.” That suit was settled out of court, and Fox revived the show in September with a ”Celebrity Boot Camp” special.
In other Burnett news, the reality producer is developing his first scripted show, a sitcom for the WB, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Burnett and veteran sitcom creators Carsey-Werner-Mandabach are working together on the series, about an American dad and his two teenagers who trek across Europe as the father tries to get the kids to warm to his new fiancée. It’s not clear how many countries the bickering tourists can visit and how many episodes they can spend in Europe before they’re voted off the continent.