CBS Mocks Its Own Failed Copyright Lawsuit By Sarcastically Announcing New 'Completely Original' Show 'Dancing On The Stars'

from the the-snark-is-strong-with-this-one dept

A few weeks back, we wrote about a silly lawsuit from CBS, arguing that it could basically hold the copyright on some of the most basic concepts in reality TV. CBS was suing ABC, because ABC was about to put on Glass House, which was similar to CBS’s Big Brother. Of course, this is the nature of TV and most people deal with it. You can’t copyright an idea (or so we’re told) but that doesn’t seem to stop big companies from pretending otherwise. Here, at least, the judge wasn’t convinced. He refused to issue an injunction blocking the showing of Glass House, and noted that it certainly looked like the ideas were different:

“I think is very likely to induce quite different behavior than one would expect to see in the ‘Big Brother’ show.”

CBS had put out a statement saying that it would keep fighting the lawsuit, but apparently it decided on another way to fight this as well: by snarky press release. In something that honestly reads like it was meant for April Fool’s Day (and caused many people to wonder if CBS’s system had been hacked), the company put out a mocking and sarcastic press release supposedly announcing a “groundbreaking and completely original new reality program” called Dancing on the Stars. Here’s the full press release:


Los Angeles, June 20, 2012 – Subsequent to recent developments in the creative and legal community, CBS Television today felt it was appropriate to reveal the upcoming launch of an exciting, groundbreaking and completely original new reality program for the CBS Television Network.

The dazzling new show, DANCING ON THE STARS, will be broadcast live from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and will feature moderately famous and sort of well-known people you almost recognize competing for big prizes by dancing on the graves of some of Hollywood’s most iconic and well-beloved stars of stage and screen.

The cemetery, the first in Hollywood, was founded in 1899 and now houses the remains of Andrew “Fatty” Arbuckle, producer Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Paul Muni, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, George Harrison of the Beatles and Dee Dee Ramone of the Ramones, among many other great stars of stage, screen and the music business. The company noted that permission to broadcast from the location is pending, and that if efforts in that regard are unsuccessful, approaches will be made to Westwood Village Memorial Park, where equally scintillating luminaries are interred.

“This very creative enterprise will bring a new sense of energy and fun that’s totally unlike anything anywhere else, honest,” said a CBS spokesperson, who also revealed that the Company has been working with a secret team for several months on the creation of the series, which was completely developed by the people at CBS independent of any other programming on the air. “Given the current creative and legal environment in the reality programming business, we’re sure nobody will have any problem with this title or our upcoming half-hour comedy for primetime, POSTMODERN FAMILY.”

“After all,” the spokesperson added, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Yeah, that last sentence might push this one a bit far over the top, don’t you think? This is the kind of response that people have and joke about internally. They don’t release it to the world. I will grant you that it’s amusing, but it also seems pretty petulant for a company having lost the basic argument in its lawsuit. If it really is going to fight on with this lawsuit, perhaps so publicly mocking the judge who ruled against you isn’t such a good idea.

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Companies: abc, cbs

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Comments on “CBS Mocks Its Own Failed Copyright Lawsuit By Sarcastically Announcing New 'Completely Original' Show 'Dancing On The Stars'”

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Ima Fish (profile) says:


CBS is not getting it. The issue is not that ABC did not get the idea of Glass House from Big Brother. I have no doubt that ABC did get the idea from CBS. Just like CBS got the idea from the same show from the Netherlands.

The issue is whether the government should grant a monopoly on that mere idea. Should the mere idea of people being filmed in a house be locked up for perpetually minus one day? That makes no fricken sense.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The BBC did a pretty damn good job of modernizing it, I thought. Sometimes they laid the “hey look, they’re texting!” stuff on a little too thick, but for the most part it was really well done… When someone told me that “Watson blogs instead of keeping a journal” I groaned – but was pleasantly surprised to discover that it’s somehow not as stupid, gimmicky and annoying as you’d expect.

Lord Binky says:

If it would get them the viewers they wanted, go for it it! CBS cries ‘Oh no! Someone makes a show on the same premise as mine! Must destroy..It might be better!’ That is funny because CBS knows…Its show is not as good as another that hasn’t even come out. How is it movies have gotten over this but television hasn’t? For awhile now there have been movies with the same general premise/subject/genre coming out at the same time.. Movie about driving fast and criminals? Make your choice there’s two out. Random Bounty Hunter having trouble with bounty? There’s two out right now, make your pick….

Anonymous Coward says:

This is sad partly because it’s just network people being petulant and childish that they lost their baseless lawsuit, but it’s sad on a much deeper level because it is evidence of the widespread belief that ideas must be either totally unique and created in a vacuum?if such a thing were even possible?or devoid of merit.

Anonymous Coward says:

possible interpretation: someone at CBS has decided that, since the courts of law aren’t helping, they should turn to the court of public opinion (which is where “my douchebag competitor just copied my idea” complaints really belong)

Personally, I think the networks could benefit by a little bit of snarky rivalry in the court of public opinion.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:



Agreed. The misdirect with Mycroft in the first episode was brilliant, as was the misdirect with John in the last episode of the first season. Deerstalker thing was awesome too, for sure.

Though, I wasn’t a big fan of the Baskervilles episode. All the elements of a great idea were there but somehow it just came across as silly.

I think the most brilliant move is just the whole character of Moriarty. Turning him into a fey and twitchy but terrifyingly rage-filled imp with an eerily sexual bent was… awesome. He’s like a mix of Elim Garak and Buffalo Bill.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:


Yeah they definitely don’t get it. This kind of reminds me of another situation: Person A is involved in some sort of newsworthy event and Studio B purchases the “rights” to the story in order to make a horrible made-for-tv movie about the event, even though *anyone* can make a movie about the event without purchasing the “rights”. Maybe they feel like it makes their movie more official?

Anonymous Coward says:

No No No

I wouldn’t mind having a “reality tv show” that actually was based on reality and not a bunch of staged drama for the cameras.

All the “reality TV shows” now are so fake that it hurts to watch them. It’s like listening to the eyewitness reports, on the news, about a robbery. I think they look for the craziest person on the street that then exaggerates the story to the point of insanity.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can’t see their absurd press release on their actual page you’ve kindly linked to because it’s not available in my location.

I am greatly amused.
I am so sick and tired of these wasteful and childish fools. Stop worrying about what the competition are doing and get on with doing your own jobs properly. There, problem solved.

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