CBS asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to keep ABC's "Glass House" off the air until CBS' case accusing it off ripping off its own "Big Brother" can go to trial.
In a motion filed Thursday, CBS contends that the ABC show, set to premiere June 18, has not only stolen the concept of "Big Brother" — 12 to 14 people live in a house where their moves are constantly monitored — but also poached former staffers from "Big Brother."
CBS also accuses the ABC show of stealing trade secrets that enable "Big Brother" to produce episodes with very quick turnaround time, even as fans monitor the house live online.
CBS acknowledged it was rare for a judge to order a show not to air, but it contends that such an order is necessary in this case because the the copyright infringement and theft of trade secrets are so egregious.
ABC said in a statement that CBS's lawsuit was "a naked attempt … to stifle competition and creativity by claiming that reality techniques that have been developed over many years, on many shows by countless producers, are somehow exclusive to CBS."
In its filing, CBS demanded that "Glass House" return confidential, proprietary materials related to "Big Brother" and "ease further destroying" evidence in the case. Citing a lengthy deposition with "Glass House" executive producer Kenny Rosen — a former "Big Brother" producer — CBS claims that Rosen "admitted to destroying potentially relevant emails."
Rosen also showed a "Big Brother" control room schedule to a producer, and said he consulted it “to figure out how many story positions I would need" for "Glass House," CBS said. He also said he watched several episodes of "Big Brother" in March.
"When asked why he did so, he said it was to remind himself of how the 'Big Brother' story was told and sarcastically remarked that he wanted to 'remind himself what a great' producer he was," CBS' motion said.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.