All eyes this morning on an important hearing in Los Angeles, when Gary Allen Feess, a judge with the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, will hear CBS's complaint that ABC's new "The Glass House" — scheduled to launch Monday — is a knockoff of "Big Brother."
The case is interesting for a number of reasons, notably the fact that Feess' ruling could set some sort of precedent in the reality TV world, where the generous borrowing of ideas, formats, styles and twists is pretty much a way of life. CBS has argued the show is a copycat; ABC says it's not. Who will prevail? Hard to say which way Feess will go; his record on the bench does not necessarily indicate anything here. One of his most famous cases had to do with a dispute between Fox and Warner Bros. back in 2008 over distribution rights for "Watchmen;" WB was distributing and Fox argued that it owned the rights because it had made a number of earlier deals with producer Lawrence Gordon. Feess sided with Fox, and Warners was forced to sweeten a fee arrangement with Fox. Of course, none of this has anything to do with "Glass." If CBS can get him to agree, however, then ABC will have to shelve — at least temporarily "Glass House." That has never happened — at least in my recollection — before to a disputed reality series. (CBS and NBC also brawled over "I'm a Celebrity — Get Me out of Here;" sadly, the show did go forward.)
ABC, meanwhile, is acting particularly confident: It posted the electronic press kit for critics of "House" last night .?.?.