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OFF BEAT: 'Big Brother' is watching, says ABC stole idea


Walt Disney Co.’s ABC is facing a trademark infringement lawsuit from CBS Broadcasting Inc. which says ABC’s new television show “Glass House” is an “unabashed rip-off” of the hit reality series “Big Brother.”

In an amended complaint filed last month in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, CBS said that ABC’s “Glass House” employs at least 32 former employees from “Big Brother” and is “an obvious attempt by (ABC) to capitalize on Big Brother’s unique success.”

Both reality TV shows involve contestants whose daily lives are filmed and broadcasted while living in a network-provided house. The programs require participants to compete in challenges and vote their housemates off the show each week.

“Big Brother” first appeared in 2000, while “Glass House” debuted in June. CBS accuses ABC of hiring former “Big Brother” producers and using CBS’ trade secrets to produce the new show.

CBS is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against ABC, Walt Disney and other defendants for copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation and other claims.