CBS Derides ABC's Defense of ‘Big Brother'-Like ‘Glass House’

CBS says ABC can point to no substantive differences between two reality shows

Continuing to press for a temporary restraining order to keep ABC's "Glass House" from premiering Monday, CBS said Tuesday that ABC's lawyers had failed to point out any substantive differences between "Glass House" and CBS's long-running "Big Brother."

CBS asked for the order last week, arguing that "Glass House" 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" and stolen production techniques.

Also read: ABC Files Opposition to CBS Request for Restraining Order for 'Big Brother'-Like 'Glass House'

ABC offered a series of defenses in a filing late Monday, but in its response Tuesday, CBS said none of them addressed its chief argument: that ABC's show had committed copyright infringement and stolen trade secrets. CBS contends that ABC has defended its show by pointing only to "trivial rule changes" that differentiate it from "Big Brother."

A judge is expected to rule ahead of the planned Monday premiere date for "Glass House."

ABC said Monday in its opposition to the request for a restraining order that CBS's effort to keep its show off the air was "wholly unprecedented," and challenged CBS' suggestion that "Big Brother" was unique.

"To begin, there is no 'secret sauce' in 'Big Brother'"s production process," ABC's lawyers said. They said "Big Brother" uses "commonly known equipment, jobs, and ways of doing things in reality television production."

ABC acknowleged that its show wasn't particularly original, either: "[N]one of the alleged similarities shared by 'Big Brother' and 'The Glass House' involve copyright protectable elements — they are all generic staples of the reality show genre: people living in a house, competing with each other to avoid elimination, and winning a prize," ABC attorneys wrote.

CBS' filing Tuesday jumped on that contention. Quoting the ABC language in the paragraph above, it said, "That is as useful as saying that Sherlock Holmes lacks copyrightable expression because it is just 'the idea of a detective and a sidekick, who live in London, and use disguises and forensic science to solve crimes.'" 

CBS's attorneys said ABC had failed to point out a single show, aside from "Big Brother," that was similar to "Glass House."

Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.