CBS sues ABC over claimed 'Survivor' infringement

NEW YORK: Reality shows have stirred up debate and controversy in the past. Now the latest issue to have come out relates to possible copyright infringement. US Network CBS Broadcasting has sued rival ABC accusing it of copying the format, look and feel of its highly popular reality series Survivor (airs in India on AXN) for its planned reality television series I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here.

A Reuters report indicates that CBS is seeking unspecified damages and a court order stopping ABC from airing the show in the US. The defendants in the suit are ABC, Granada Plc and Granada Entertainment USA.

In September, ABC and Granada announced an agreement to produce the series. Celebrity, which was broadcast in the United Kingdom in August, directly copies Survivor, the suit states.

The suit says that ABC and Granada have an agreement that Granada will develop and produce 15 episodes of Celebrity for exclusive broadcast by ABC in the United States.

The suit accuses Celebrity of copycating Survivor and trying to unfairly trade on its success. Like Survivor, Celebrity places participants in an unpleasant location. They are then forced to subsist on rice and water and compete in a series of physical and mental challenges .

Each Celebrity episode ends in elimination like Survivor. Further the suit states that the English Celebrity took place in the Australian Outback, the same setting used in the second Survivor cycle. The run was incidentally cut short in India due to protests from environmental organisations.

CBS has also pointed out that at the time of airing British news media referred to the Granada production as the "Celebrity Survivor." In September, Castaway Productions Ltd, which owns the British rights to Survivor, also began litigation in the United Kingdom against Granada alleging copyright infringement the report says.

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