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ABC Files Opposition to CBS Restraining Order Over ‘Big Brother’-Like Reality Show

ABC claims that CBS copyright claim over new reality show "Glass House" will "not survive on the merits"

ABC has fired back at CBS in the fight over the "Big Brother"-like reality show "The Glass House," filing an opposition to CBS's request for a temporary restraining order Monday night.

Per federal judge Gary A. Feess' order last week, ABC had until 5 p.m. Monday to file its objection.

Also read: ABC's Attempt to Delay CBS' 'Glass House' Restraining Order Shot Down by Judge

In the opposition, ABC claims that CBS' request is "wholly unprecedented," and stands as "the first [effort] to enjoin any television show based on theory of possible copyright infringement."

ABC also insists that CBS's copyright claim "will not succeed on the merits."


“We believe that our filing last week, the testimony from copyright expert Jeff Rovin and 'The Glass House' producer’s (Kenny Rosen) own deposition speak for themselves and speak loudly on our behalf," CBS spokesman Chris Ender said in a statement. "Nothing in the defendants’ submission can change the basic facts.”

CBS filed suit against ABC in May, claiming that "The Glass House" bears far too many similarities to "Big Brother," and that numerous former "Big Brother" employees work on "The Glass House." The suit, which claims that "The Glass House" was developed with propriety information from "Big Brother," asks that the defendants be prevented from using confidential information and surrender all copyrighted material and trade secrets they may have. The suit is also seeking  $500,000 from each former "Big Brother" staffer for allegedly violating their confidentiality agreements.

Also read: CBS Sues ABC Over "Big Brother"-like Reality Series

In its opposition today, ABC scoffs at the notion that "Big Brother" is wholly unique in the realm of reality television.

"To begin, there is no 'secret sauce' in 'Big Brother'"s production process," ABC's opposition  reads. "The processes outlined in CBS's brief and attached Appendix describe commonly known equipment, jobs, and ways of doing things in reality television production."

ABC also rebuffs claims that it "poached" former "Big Brother" employees in order to steal secrets from the show. According to ABC's objection, "The Glass House" crew has so many similar members because "Glass House" showrunner Kenny Rosen had become accustomed to working as a team with certain people.

"A group of employees followed Mr. Rosen from "Big Brother" (where he last last worked in 2007) to "Hell's Kitchen" at Fox, an 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."

Oddly enough, in making its case, ABC admits that "The Glass House" is not terribly unique itself.

"[N]one of the alleged similarities shared by 'Big Brother' and 'The Glass House' involve copyright protectable elements — they are al generic staples of the reality show genre: people living in a house, competing with each other to avoid elimination, and winning a prize."

"The Glass House" premieres June 18 — unless CBS succeeds in blocking it.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.