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?

  • JRL

    Can you people read? CBS is suing because several former Big Brother employees with non-competes in their contracts are working on the new ABC show.

  • DaisiesDeathKnell

    It’s funny that people point out ABC’s horrendous Amazing Race rip-off, but they’re forgetting an earlier Amazing Race ripoff called Treasure Hunters on NBC. It was pretty much the same thing except with an emphasis on puzzle and riddle solving tasks.

  • Survivor Fan

    I was actually really looking forward to this one.

    I am normally a CBS fan (I love their reality and comedies), but I hope that ABC does not back down.

  • joethehobo

    This is not a rip off of Big Brother US, it’s a rip off of the international versions of Big Brother. Big Brother US is a competition series where the houseguests use their intellect and physical power to win competitions in order for them to stay in the house or they depend on deep strategy because the other houseguests will be the ones voting each other out of the house. In the international versions, they sit around all day smiling for the cameras hoping America will vote for them to stay in the house. It’s very different.

    Since I relish all of the strategy involved in Big Brother US, I’ll be watching that this summer. This Mr./Mrs. America pageant will have to find someone else to watch. I’m fine with it being on the air as long as people stop confusing it with Big Brother US. It’s an absolute insult to the amazing program Big Brother US is and has been for years.

  • DryedMangoez

    Wasn’t there legal action as well between NBC’s “The Contender” (Great show by the way) and Fox’s own boxing show (I don’t even remember its title) which they ripped off and rushed to air before NBC/Burnett’s?

  • Matt

    Shows get copycatted ALL THE TIME. Reality shows are even easier to mimic because they are so lacking in substance. I’m not sure they really have a case or a shot or manufacturing one.

  • carole

    If Julie Chan is not on the ABC show, I might watch. Can’t stand Julie Chan.

  • JRL

    You shouldn’t have any problem then, considering that BB is hosted by Julie ChEn

  • Herb Fine

    People who live in Stone Houses Shouldn’t Throw Glass…

  • Justin

    Allow me to translate:

    “Please ABC, Don’t kill our only good reality show”

  • ToXiX

    I hope CBS is successful, we don’t need anymore reality series and especially don’t need one from abc.

    The Voice & The Choice is not that big of a deal.

    Plus, that should be expected from Fox.

  • Ultima

    Can you people read? CBS is suing because several former Big Brother employees with non-competes in their contracts are working on the new ABC show.

    They can read, comprehension is the problem!

    Wonder why CBS would sue – I am pretty sure that they contracted Big Brother from Endemol in Holland who invented the show. So it would be Endemol’s take of suing, not CBS’s.

    “The agreements (between the staff and the production company) specifically list CBS as a third-party beneficiary that is entitled to enforce the agreement.”

  • Ultima

    Shows get copycatted ALL THE TIME.

    Yes, but not by people who signed legally binding non-disclosure agreements before doing it.

  • Patrick G.

    This is such a farce. The TV networks have been aping their competitors since their inception. “The Tonight Show” vs. “The Ed Sullivan Show” vs. “The Late Show,” to “Bewitched” vs. “I Dream of Jeannie,” to “Bonanza” vs. “Gunsmoke,” and the lists go on and on and are too numerous to count. The networks even copy themselves, from all the “CSI’s” on the very litigious network mentioned here, to the “Law and Orders.” They even ape successful movies. Anyone remember ABC creating the original “Battlestar Galactica,” right after “Star Wars'” success, and using the same special FX people and producers to do it? Even the Vipers looked like X-Wings. George Lucas sued ABC back then and lost. CBS will lose here as well. They should follow the old cardinal rule about “thouse living in Glass Houses,” which may be why ABC chose this name?! ;)

  • Patrick G.

    as for the non-compete aspect of the lawsuit by the “Glass House” employees, all ABC has to do is fire and replace them. Case closed.

  • Joseph

    @Patrick G.
    Except that there are limits to what can be imitated , and because Disney had old CBS staff involved it makes the entire idea tainted. If Disney had done a new show that had some similar elements but had no one involved that had signed agreements with CBS then this story could be different , but because of what they did almost any show now that has any similar elements could be a source of litigation.

  • Al

    The irony is, this drama behind the scenes is more entertaining then the shows.

  • John

    Didn’t CBS go through this once before with survivor? I think they successfully sued fox over the show boot camp because it was too similar to survivor.

  • Justin121

    It’s nice they’re doing something more than taking digs at each otehr in their press releases :D

    Seems ironic considering CBS’ “The Talk” is a complete rip-off of ABC’s “The View”


  • NJ Viewer

    Who even watches that garbage?

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