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ABC's 'Glass House' Looks Set to Premiere Despite CBS Suit

By William Launder "Life in a Glass House," the latest reality show from Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS) ABC network, looks on track to premiere Monday night, although a U.S. District Court still hadn't formally ruled on CBS Corp.'s (CBS) request for a restraining order against the show as of late afternoon. Judge Gary Feess said Friday that he was unlikely to grant the restraining order to bar the show's airing, which CBS has requested as part of broader legal charges, including copyright infringement, brought against ABC. Feess said last week that he wasn't persuaded CBS would be harmed by the airing of "Glass House." A spokeswoman for ABC said the network planned to air "Glass House" Monday night as long as it doesn't receive a restraining order from the court. CBS last month sued ABC, alleging "Glass House" breaches copyright law by creating a "carbon copy" of the popular CBS series "Big Brother." CBS also sought a temporary restraining order to bar "Glass House" from airing ahead of its premiere. Both shows involve filming strangers selected to live together in a contest format in which one participant emerges as a final winner. Allegations of copyright infringement are par for the course in television, especially for reality-based programming. Comcast Corp.'s (CMCSA, CMCSK) NBC Universal successfully defended itself last year in a suit alleging its weight-loss show hit "The Biggest Loser" violated copyright law. In its suit, CBS has further alleged that several former producers and other staff from "Big Brother" were subsequently employed by ABC to create "Glass House." CBS wants an unspecified amount in damage compensation and a court order to halt the infringing elements of the show, it said last month. ABC, meanwhile, has said the differences in the two shows are "fundamental and obvious." Earlier Friday, CBS said it would move forward with its suit against ABC regardless of the court's ruling on a temporary restraining order. It also plans to proceed in seeking damages from former "Big Brother" staff who violated confidentiality agreements by working as producers for "Glass House." -Write to William Launder at [email protected]

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