UPDATE: ABC and CBS issued statements in response to the judge’s decision not to grant CBS a temporary restraining order against ABC and its Big Brother-esque new reality series The Glass House.
ABC: We’re pleased the Court agreed with ABC’s arguments that The Glass House is a very different show and people working in the reality television industry should not be prevented from bringing their skills to a new employer. We are thrilled viewers will now get a chance to continue to enjoy and participate in ABC’s The Glass House.
CBS: This is only one preliminary step in a long road; we will now aggressively move two steps forward.
We intend to proceed with our claims against Disney/ABC for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. At the same time, we will move forward with our individual claims for liability and liquidated damages against any current “Glass House” producer who violated their “Big Brother” confidentiality agreement.
The Court was very clear that its Order was without prejudice to any future proceedings and CBS looks forward to the evidence that further discovery will reveal, particularly from the estimated 30 former “Big Brother” producers/staff now employed by “Glass House.”
PREVIOUS: It’s official: A judge today refused CBS’ request for a temporary restraining order against ABC’s The Glass House. The reality show debuted Monday as planned — to soft ratings. In his ruling (Read it here) Judge Gary Feess wrote today that the court “has concluded that, while it cannot say that CBS will not prevail at trial, it has concluded that success on the merits is unlikely. The evidence before the Court indicates that, under the substantial similarity test, CBS is not likely to prove that Glass House has misappropriated protectable elements of Big Brother.” CBS sued ABC on May 10 claiming it’s a blatant rip-off of its Big Brother and infringes on the CBS show copyright. ABC, which claims it has spent about $16 million promoting Glass House’s debt, has said the CBS suit has “no merit.”
Today’s official ruling was not unexpected. At an early-morning hearing last Friday on the TRO request, Judge Feess opened proceedings on June 8 by saying he was “inclined to deny the application for TRO” because “CBS has not convinced me that they will succeed in their copyright claims.” After hearing arguments from both CBS and ABC lawyers, Feess said “there is no injunction from the bench today.” He added, “I think it is unlikely I will change my inclination but I do want to look at any materials again.” Although a formal ruling was not issued at the time, CBS and ABC lawyers and representatives treated the matter as essentially concluded. CBS said Friday that “win, lose or draw on the temporary restraining order” it intends to pursue other aspects of its case — including former Big Brother producers now working at The Glass House. In another aspect of the ongoing discovery process, ABC filed a motion late Friday rejecting as “overbroad” CBS’ request for correspondence between the network and the new reality show’s employees. ABC filed further supplemental material Monday.