Hey, ABC, CBS is watching you.
The Alphabet net recently announced a new reality series in development called Glass House, which puts a group of people in a house that's monitored by cameras. Unfortunately, that premise sounds a bit too familiar to the folks at CBS, and they aren't taking it sitting down...
E! News has obtained a cease-and-desist letter sent today from CBS to ABC threatening to bring down the hammer if ABC doesn't pull the plug on Life in a Glass House.
"With the striking similarities to Big Brother and their concerted effort to recruit a large number of former staff from the show, we don't see how ABC can produce this new series without infringing on our rights," CBS says in a statement to E! News.
The letter, written by Scott Edleman on behalf of CBS to ABC execs Alan Beaverman and Anne Sweeney, states that "CBS was surprised and deeply concerned to learn earlier this week that ABC has been developing a reality television series entitled Life in a Glass House, which is substantially—and stirringly—similar to CBS's famous and long-running series Big Brother."
Glass House is supposed to feature 12 contestants living in a house that's being monitored by camera Sound familiar? Big Brother, which has the same concept, has been airing on CBS since 2000, when the network got the exclusive U.S. licensee of the Dutch reality series of the same name. CBS sent the letter to "put ABC on notice" and that continued development of the show puts ABC to liability, "including damages and injunctive relief, for violation of the Copyright Act."
Also according to the letter, several former employees of Big Brother are now working on Glass House, including ABC's current VP of alternative programming, Corie Henson. "CBS is informed that Glass House is being produced by a team of at least 18 former members of CBS' Big Brother production staff—all of whom were privy to trade secrets and other confidential, proprietary information and signed broad and binding non-disclosure agreements in connection with Big Brother," the letter states.
ABC has not yet returned our request for comments.
Is CBS right to sue ABC? Or is there just no such thing as an original reality TV concept anymore?