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CBS prevails in 'The Glass House' legal dispute

August 19, 2013|By Meg James
  • CBS' "Big Brother" sequesters houseguests such as Aaryn, left, and GinaMarie; ABC's "The Glass House" tried the same thing but flopped both in the ratings and the legal arena.
CBS' "Big Brother" sequesters houseguests such as Aaryn,… (Sonja Fleming / CBS )

CBS Corp. wants to send the message that it won't tolerate copycats.

On Monday, the No. 1-ranked television network said that it had reached a settlement in the 15-month legal dispute over whether ABC's "The Glass House," a short-lived reality show that closely mirrored CBS' successful "Big Brother" show, constituted a violation of CBS' copyright and trade secrets.

CBS said it would receive compensation in the matter, but it declined to say how much.

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"The Glass House" got stoned in the ratings last summer.  The program, about a group of strangers living together in a house and cut off from the outside world, ran just 10 episodes, mustering fewer than 4 million viewers an installment throughout its short tenure.

In May 2012, CBS  filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and the producers and tried unsuccessfully to get a restraining order to stop the show from airing.

ABC later gave the show the boot, but CBS continued to press its claims, provoking a counter-suit last fall from "Glass House" executive producer Kenny Rosen, producer Michael O'Sullivan and ABC executive Corie Henson. The trio formerly worked on CBS' "Big Brother" before collaborating on "The Glass House" for ABC.

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Rosen, when working on "Big Brother," signed a non-disclosure agreement that promised he would not divulge CBS trade secrets.

The case went to arbitration earlier this year. 

"We have reached a settlement in arbitration with the parties in 'The Glass House' legal dispute," CBS said in its statement Monday. "CBS will receive financial compensation as part of the settlement. The producers have admitted that one of them used confidential 'Big Brother' manuals in the production of 'The Glass House,' and they have expressed regret for using this material.  In addition, those involved have pledged not to misappropriate CBS trade secrets in the future."

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A CBS spokesman declined to comment further.

ABC declined to comment.

Glenn Pomerantz, an attorney for the producers, was not immediately available for comment.


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