CBS Warns ABC Not to Air 'The Glass House' Claiming It Is Too Similar to 'Big Brother'

Categories: ABC TV ratings,CBS TV ratings,TV Business

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May 4th, 2012


TVByTheNumbers readers were not the only ones who noticed a similarity between ABC's upcoming summer reality series The Glass House and CBS's long-running Big Brother. Lawyers for CBS sent a letter to ABC President Anne Sweeney warning that if ABC proceeds with the show, the network will be "acting at their own peril" and that if ABC airs The Glass House, CBS will "pursue all available remedies."

CBS's lawyers also allege in the letter that numerous former producers of Big Brother have been hired to work on The Glass House in violation of the Non Disclosure Agreements they signed with CBS. The entire letter can be found here.

How long before NBC sends FOX a similar strongly worded missive about it's upcoming dating show The Choice, which overtly parodies the hit music competition, The Voice?

  • AJ

    It seems CBS is most concerned about these 18 ex-Big Brother employees and what “inside secrets” they may bring to the new show. That seems to be a bigger issue as opposed to just a show with a similar format.

    And do we really need another Big Brother anyway?

  • UK-International

    What can CBS do they don’t own the Big Brother format, Endemol do they could take The Glass House producers to court. I believe similar situations have arisen in Chile and Russia in both cases Endemol won.

  • Ralph Hahn

    I agree with the folks who say that ABC has a right to air its version.

    ALL of the Reality shows are rip-offs of other successful shows. That’s why I hate them all.

    They steal not from only the crop of existing reality shows, but they’ve re-tooled game shows from the 50s, 60s & 70s.

    These shows are cheaper to make because they are shot on video instead of film.

  • Steve

    All I’m hoping for is that ABC signs the Big Brother idiots Brenden and Rachel to The Glass House. Please. PLEASE!

  • Feedback

    CBS ripped off The View when they created The Talk. If CBS sues, ABC should counter-sue.

  • Nadine Harris

    Who does CBS think it is? Apple?
    No! Microsoft!

  • Nadine Harris

    Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Didn’t CBS rip off the idea originally from MTV??? (or was it VH1?…..)

  • Nadine Harris

    I doubt it’ll do as well as Big Brother anyway though because most people will probably realize it’s just a blatant rip off and not care to tune in.
    I don’t get your logic here. If you like Big Brother, wouldn’t you think you’d also like the ABC show?

  • John

    Guys, you can’t copyright a concept or an idea. You can only copyright a specific expression of an idea. So, if they clone the exact sets, the exact episode formula, etc, CBS *might* have a case. Even then, copyright would still be a stretch. Copyright covers CBS’ recorded episodes. Trademark covers the name. Nothing covers the general premise, nor should it. There is room for more than one expression (for many, many expressions, in fact) of the same idea.

  • JakeSnake


    If CBS got sued for making their own talk show every other network might as well be sued too. Talk shows are nothing new, and if you think any of them are remotely original you’re very naive. Talk shows are just the news where actual opinions are thrown in, so every network should have the right to have their own version. This Glass House crap really is a true rip off in every sense of the word though. It’s people locked in a house with very little contact with the outside world where every second of their day is being watched. Big Brother could make a season with minor twists that involve more audience interaction and it would be exactly the same as this show.

  • Lord Seth

    @ Sammo

    I believe parody is covered under the freedom of speech thingy in the Constitution, so I don’t think NBC can do much about Fox.

    It’s more accurate to say parody is protected under Fair Use.

  • Mike

    CBS has their own lawsuit to deal with from the original Hawaii-Five-O producer.

  • Mike

    I Guess CBS FOrgets that Psych from usa network was out years before they came out with the mentalist

  • nope

    And every news program is a ripoff of whatever news program came first, that network should sue.

    Oh, and, no one better have a “weather channel” other than who had it first.

    And what “talk show” came first? Only that person should be able to talk

  • sally

    CBS Is Actually sueing ABC really! i personally thought they were better than that i totally lost respect for CBS!

  • sally

    ABC should sue CBS for The Talk! “The View”! ALL They thirsty ases want is money! i hate CBS!

  • Kavyn

    Glass House sounds more like the UK version of Big Brother than it does the U.S. one, to be honest. I’ve always had a guilty pleasure for Big Brother so I’m somewhat interested in checking Glass House. Not sure if I’m going to like the fact that the audience votes because it’ll just become a popularity contest.

  • sally


  • farrah!

    ABC Is really worst at creating shows for ths summer though!

  • GDfriends

    CBS is about to bitch slap the estrogen network….ooooooooh the drama!!!!!!!!!!

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