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CBS Sues ABC Over Alleged Big Brother Rip-Off

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Big Brother, Russell Kairouz, Chima Simone
Big Brother, Russell Kairouz, Chima Simone CBS

CBS is looking to grab some veto power here.

In a federal lawsuit filed today, the broadcast network has accused ABC of ripping off CBS' long-running reality show Big Brother in the course of making its own upcoming reality show Life in a Glass House.

Which is also a Radiohead song, but Thom Yorke hasn't made a peep! Not so much CBS...

RELATED: CBS Smackdown: Eye Tries to Shut Down ABC's Big Brother-esque Glass House

"If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then CBS should take pride in ABC's latest reality project...which remarkably employs at least 19 former producers and staff from CBS's hit reality series Big Brother, is a carbon copy of Big Brother and an obvious attempt by Defendants to capitalize on its unique success," the suing network contends.

RELATED: View the lawsuit

The suit goes on to name-check some of those who worked on the CBS show and have now joined ABC's team, including Big Brother co-executive producer turned Life in a Glass House showrunner Kenny Rosen and former B.B. supervising producer turned VP of alternative programming for ABC Corie Henson. (Both Rosen and Henson are named as defendants.)

MORE: Big Brother 13 Finale: Who Won and Who's All Wet?

CBS charges that Rosen, Henson and the others were privy to Big Brother's "confidential and proprietary process" and that now they're misappropriating those lessons learned by working on a similar-seeming show on ABC.

CBS Broadcasting is asking for $500,000 in damages for each separate act of misappropriation (aka for each of the 19 former insiders) as well as a restraining order and permanent injunction barring the 19 from lending further Big Brother-inspired guidance to Life in a Glass House.

The plaintiff is alleging, among other things, copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, breach of contract, conspiracy and aiding and abetting.

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