CBS made an aggressive legal move in its lawsuit against the upcoming ABC reality series "Glass House" on Wednesday, filing a discovery motion demanding emails, texts and many other documents relating to the series.
In its notice of motion and joint stipulation, filed in U.S. District Court in California, CBS says that it's asking for all documents from Jan. 1, 2008 to present "CONCERNING 'BIG BROTHER' and created in the context of or RELATING TO the development, pre-production, or production of 'GLASS HOUSE.'" That would include emails, texts, instant messages and communications on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
CBS is also asking for all series bibles, series and episode outlines, dailies, story training manuals, master control room manuals, pitches and other documents relating to "Glass House"'s format and methods of production. The network is additionally asking for blueprints, plans, drawings and other documents relating to the art direction and set-up of the domicile featured on "Glass House."
CBS is also demanding that ABC explain why "Glass House" executive producer Kenny Rosen — an alum of CBS' "Big Brother" — asked a "Glass House" staffer to "type up" the "Big Brother" house-guest manual, and that Rosen be called to answer questions that he was told not to answer during the deposition.
Last week, CBS sought a temporary restraining order against ABC's "Glass House," which is scheduled to premiere on Monday. ABC subsequently filed an opposition to CBS' request on Monday of this week.
CBS filed its initial suit in May, claiming that ABC's "Glass House" bore too many resemblances to "Big Brother" to be explained away by coincidence. Noting that Rosen and numerous other "Glass House" staffers had worked on "Big Brother," the network claims that the former staffers stole trade secrets from "Brother."
The suit asks that ABC and "Glass House" be blocked from using any proprietary information gleaned from "Big Brother," and that the former "Big Brother" staffers be ordered to pay $500,000 each for allegedly violating their nondisclosure agreements.
In its own court filing, ABC has countered that the similarities between "Big Brother" and "Glass House" amount to "generic staples of the reality show genre: people living in a house, competing with each other to avoid elimination, and winning a prize."
ABC also denied that the network had "poached" former "Big Brother" employees to work on "Glass House," noting that Rosen and the other "Big Brother" alum had worked together on subsequent projects, and continue to do so because they had developed a rapport.
"A group of employees followed Mr. Rosen from 'Big Brother' (where he last last worked in 2007) to "Hell's Kitchen" at Fox, and then to 'The Glass House,'" ABC's filing reads. "It had nothing to do with 'Big Brother''s so-called secret processes. Instead, it had to do with personal relationships and experience."
CBS is asking that ABC be given 48 hours to comply with its discovery demands.
A hearing on CBS' request for a temporary restraining order is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.