CBS accuses ABC of ripping off 'Big Brother'
Not surprisingly, CBS isn’t taking too kindly to a plan by ABC to launch its own Big Brother-like show called Glass House. Today, the Eye via the Los Angeles legal firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher fired off a letter warning that ABC “will be acting at their own peril if they continue to proceed.” The letter also reminded Disney president Anne Sweeney and general counsel Alan Braverman that CBS has been the exclusive U.S. licensee of Big Brother since 2000 and that it has been an annual staple on the network’s summer lineup.
“CBS has instructed us to pursue all available remedies if this course of conduct continues,” the letter said.
ABC recently announced plans to develop its own reality show that features 14 contestants living together in a house rigged with cameras. According to Gibson, Dunn, the show relies heavily on several former employees of the CBS franchise, which remains a cult fave. “At least 15 other former CBS Big Brother staff and crew — all of whom have signed non-disclosure agreements — have joined ABC and are apparently directly involved in the development and production of Glass House,” the letter said.
Separately, CBS released this statement today: “With the striking similarities to Big Brother and their concerted effort to recruit a large number of former staff from the show, we don’t see how ABC can produce this new series without infringing on our rights.”
A response from ABC is apparently forthcoming. Stay tuned…