Judge to weigh CBS bid to block ABC reality show

Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:08pm EDT

* CBS calls ABC's "Glass House" copy of "Big Brother"

* ABC reality show scheduled to begin airing June 18

* Hearing to weigh halt to ABC show set for June 15

By Jonathan Stempel

June 13 (Reuters) - A federal judge will consider on Friday whether CBS can block the scheduled June 18 premiere of the new ABC reality TV series "The Glass House," which it claims is too similar to its long-running summer series "Big Brother."

CBS had sued ABC last month, claiming that the new show mimics several elements of "Big Brother," and even employs 19 former producers and staff from that show.

"The Glass House" would feature contestants filmed continuously as they live in a large house.

ABC has said a key difference from "Big Brother" is that viewers would help decide some of the contestants' decisions, as well as which contestants leave the house, making its show more like "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars."

U.S. District Judge Gary Feess has scheduled a Friday morning hearing in Los Angeles to consider CBS' bid for a temporary restraining order to block airing the ABC show.

ABC has in court papers said it has spent $16 million promoting the premiere, and that a delay could put 145 people working on the show out of jobs.

In a Wednesday court filing, CBS said it has already uncovered "evidence of rampant theft," and asked ABC to quickly produce a variety of materials that are relevant to the case.

ABC called the request "an ill-disguised fishing expedition" that would be a "major distraction" to workers on its show, which is expected to shoot 24 hours a day, five days a week.

The lawsuit had been filed by CBS Broadcasting Inc, a unit of CBS Corp, against ABC, its parent Walt Disney Co and several individual producers and staff.

The case is CBS Broadcasting Inc v. American Broadcasting Cos et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 12-04073.