August 17, 2012 / 10:00 PM / 7 years ago

CBS drops 'Big Brother' lawsuit vs ABC's 'Glass House'

* CBS called ABC’s “Glass House” copy of “Big Brother”

* CBS says retains right to bring copyright claim again

* “Glass House” drew low ratings relative to older rival

By Jonathan Stempel

Aug 17 (Reuters) - CBS has dropped its lawsuit accusing rival ABC of copying its long-running reality TV series “Big Brother” when it created “The Glass House,” which has drawn low ratings.

The lawsuit had claimed that “The Glass House,” which began airing in June, mimicked several elements of “Big Brother,” which began airing in 2000, and even employed 19 former producers and staff from that show.

Both shows involve contestants who are filmed continuously as they live in a large house, and who are evicted over time.

CBS, part of New York-based CBS Corp, had sued ABC, a unit of Burbank, California-based Walt Disney Co, in May in a federal court in Los Angeles. The case was dismissed on Friday, according to a court filing there.

In the week ended Aug. 12, “The Glass House” ranked 87th among broadcast TV shows by number of viewers, with an audience of 1.59 million, according to Nielsen.

“Big Brother” had three episodes ranking in the top 15, each with more than 5 million viewers, Nielsen said.

“Viewers have spoken and delivered the ultimate form of justice against ‘The Glass House,’” CBS said in a statement.

CBS said it will arbitrate its contract and trade secrets claims against former “Big Brother” producers it accused of violating confidentiality agreements.

ABC representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feess had in June denied CBS’ request to block the rival show, saying it was unclear that the copyright case would succeed.

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

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