6:46pm PT by Matthew Belloni
CBS Filing for Emergency Injunction to Stop ABC's 'Glass House'
CBS is set to file a request for a temporary restraining order to stop the upcoming reality series Glass House from airing on ABC. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the court papers will be filed electronically in federal court in Los Angeles tonight by lawyers for CBS.
UPDATE: The TRO request was indeed filed late Thursday night.
As we previously reported, CBS is suing ABC over the upcoming strangers-living-together show, arguing that it violates the intellectual property of Big Brother and that trade secrets obtained by at least 19 former Big Brother employees are being used to create the new show. ABC denies that Glass House, which is set to debut June 18, is a copycat, arguing that CBS can't possibly claim copyright infringement over a live competition show that hasn't been created yet.
A lengthy deposition took place Sunday of defendant Kenny Rosen, executive producer of Glass House and a former producer of Big Brother. The Rosen interrogation lasted seven hours, according to court documents, during which he was grilled about the format for Glass House and whether he is using any secret information or resources from his previous job at Big Brother to create the ABC show. During the deposition, sources say he admitted that about 27 former Big Brother staffers are working on Glass House, and that he consulted and even copied Big Brother manuals when putting together the plan for Glass House.
CBS tipped its plan in court papers filed earlier this week, in which the network outlined its argument against the show.
"CBS undeniably has an interest in stopping the irreparable harm caused by Defendants' ongoing misappropriation of trade secrets, infringement of Big Brother's copyright and other unlawful activity (including spoilaiton of evidence)," the network's proposed schedule argued. "For these reasons, CBS intends to seek a [temporary restraining order] preventing the ongoing production and imminent airing of Glass House on June 18."
ABC and Rosen responded with their own court filing disputing CBS' characterization of the case and Rosen's deposition. "For example, it is misleading -- and frankly irrelevant to the legal claims -- that Mr. Rosen said he hired more than 20 people with prior experience on Big Brother," the Defendants argue. "What CBS does not tell this Court is that Mr. Rosen also testified that the vast majority of these people worked with Mr. Rosen more recently on a different reality show, Hell's Kitchen, that has nothing to do with Big Brother. It is true that Mr. Rosen hires people with whom he has experience working on reality shows; there is nothing improper about that."
UPDATE: ABC issued the following statement on Thursday night: "This is a naked attempt by CBS to stifle competition and creativity by claiming that reality techniques that have been developed over many years, on many shows by countless producers, are somehow exclusive to CBS."