LOS ANGELES -- ABC urged a federal judge on Monday to reject efforts by rival network CBS to block next week's premiere of the new reality series "The Glass House," citing differences between the new show and the longtime competition show "Big Brother."
CBS has asked the judge to block the June 18 premiere of "Glass House" because it copies key elements of "Big Brother" and the new show employs dozens of its former staffers. U.S. District Judge Gary Feess agreed last week that the case should be heard on an expedited basis, although no hearing date has been set.
ABC's filing states the network has spent $16 million promoting "Glass House," which would air after "The Bachelorette." Delaying the show's premiere could cost nearly 150 people their jobs, ABC argued in its most recent filing.
The network's attorneys also claim most of the things CBS argues are trade secrets are not unique concepts, but rather standard elements of reality television such as competition, betrayal, voting and a diverse cast. The show differs from "Big Brother," ABC's lawyers argue, because many of the contestants' decisions, and who remains in the house, are made by the audience members. The two least popular housemates will lead teams in a competition each week, with the losing leader facing elimination.
"You cannot win The Glass House if you cannot win over the most important player of all – the viewers," the filing states.
CBS alleges the dozens of former "Big Brother" staffers and producers now working with ABC may have violated non-disclosure agreements. Kenny Rosen, the top producer of "Glass House," has acknowledged he deleted emails that may have been needed in the case after learning a lawsuit was planned, attorneys for CBS wrote in a court filing last week. It also claims he instructed a worker to copy a manual used on "Big Brother."
ABC claims many of those staffers also worked with Rosen on the show "Hell's Kitchen" and that such overlap on reality series is common. The network also mocks an expert paid by CBS to analyze the two shows and concluded, "Both shows are about trust, betrayal, ambition, disappointment, bonding, competitiveness, and affection."
"So is Shakespeare," ABC's attorneys wrote in Monday's filing. They added that the same elements are found in Greek tragedy and the "Die Hard" films and does not mean "Glass House" is so similar to "Big Brother" that it should be blocked from airing.