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:
CBS ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF “DANCING ON THE STARS,” AN EXCITING AND COMPLETELY ORIGINAL REALITY PROGRAM THAT OWES ITS CONCEPT AND EXECUTION TO NOBODY AT ALL


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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Mothringer, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:11am

    I would guess it probably was internal, and some clueless PR bot with no grasp of sarcasm thought it was real and sent it out.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:15am

    "THAT OWES ITS CONCEPT AND EXECUTION TO NOBODY AT ALL"

    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.

     

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      Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:40am

      Re:

      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?

       

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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:21am

    Sam Kinison called it

    Cock-sucking Bastard Sons-of-bitches.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:22am

    Isn't CBS doing an updated Sherlock Holmes series...just like the BBC?

     

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      Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:26am

      Re:

      I believe they are. But, to be fair, Sherlock Holmes is one of the most adapted characters of all time.

      I am curious to see how much they Americanize it, in comparison to the BBC's astonishing feat of finding an actor with an even more English-sounding name than 'Sherlock Holmes' to play Sherlock Holmes.

       

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        blaktron (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:02am

        Re: Re:

        Theres no way they will be able to keep every single theme from the novels and short stories while at the same time totally adapting it to modern life. Good luck CBS, but you arent THAT good at copying.

         

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          Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:31am

          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.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The BBC version is very tongue-in-cheek, playing with the conventions and tropes in entertaining ways (especially Holmes' irritation with being identified with deerstalker caps)
            Wonder how they'll work Inverness capes into the show...

             

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              Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              (spoilers!)

              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.

               

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                GMacGuffin (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:48am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Gotta say I love the series, foibles and silliness and all. But then I'm a consumate Doctor Who fan, so maybe I just have a thing for spastic, obnoxious, hateful Brits who are smarter than everyone else and know it...

                 

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                  Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:54am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I just have a thing for spastic, obnoxious, hateful Brits who are smarter than everyone else and know it...

                  Having just recently re-watched some old episodes of Fawlty Towers, I do generally agree with that sentiment :)

                   

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        Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re:

        I am curious to see how much they Americanize it ...

        Not sure if it qualifies for Americanizing, but the last I heard Watson will be played by Lucy Liu.

         

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    Ericweedhub (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:22am

    Originality

    There are many ideas out there why adopt a similar idea if they don't really intend to copy it....
    Ideas should be original,like marijuana it was originally used as a drug but people didn't use it the right way,so what people see now is the addiction as an effect of using not the medical uses for marijuana...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:24am

    Was the decision concerning injunctive relief about a preliminary injunction or a termporary restraining order? The last article here was to my recollection about the latter.

     

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    Preemie Maboroshi, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:27am

    a new sense of energy and fun

    All the ideas that they talk about in their press release actually sound like *cool* ideas.

    Maybe this situation really did put a new sense of energy and fun into their thoughts. Maybe the way to make new shows from now on would be to tick everybody off and then send them to work.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:27am

    goes to show, dont take too much to be a complete idiot, does it! cant quite decide which bit is actually original. somebody help, please?

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:27am

    Simpsons did it...

    This calls to mind the Reality Show episode of The Simpsons, when the boardroom is filled with people complaining that they needed a totally new, totally original idea, so they all whip out mobile TVs to see what other stations have....

     

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      Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:34am

      Re: Simpsons did it...

      Even better, when Homer calls Fox:

      "Hi, you've reached Fox Television. If you're pitching a show where gold-digging skanks get what's coming to them, press 1. If you're pitching a ripoff of another network's reality show, press 2..."

       

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        E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:52am

        Re: Re: Simpsons did it...

        Or when the Simpsons got onto that Wife Swap show and Lisa complained to the exec that was giving them a tour. He then gave Lisa an ABC hoodie that zip all the way up.

         

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          Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Simpsons did it...

          ooh, and:

          "Up next - Who Wants To Marry A Million Bears?"

          I realize they have gotten quite a few good reality tv digs in over the past few years

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2012 @ 1:22am

      Re: Simpsons did it...

      The simpsons did everything, it's a idea whore

       

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    Lord Binky, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:36am

    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....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Dancing on the stars? So does that mean if I enter, I get to dance on Tom Hanks' face?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:43am

    I'd watch it

    Shit, I'd love to see a bunch of idiots dancing on the graves of Hollywood stars!

    IMO, cemeteries are a waste of land anyway, I never really understood the desire to reserve plots of land for corpses to decompose in forever...

     

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      Simple Mind (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:41am

      Re: I'd watch it

      Or why people are always so concerned about "the remains" and getting the body back so they can bury it. When I am dead you can throw my body in the local dumpster for all I care. F&*k the remains!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:42pm

        Re: Re: I'd watch it

        "F&*k the remains!"

        I wouldn't do that if I were you... Unless you like being charged with desecrating a corpse.

         

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    ebilrawkscientist (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:44am

    No No No

    More reality tv shows - DO NOT WANT!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:47pm

      Re: 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.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:57am

    Sorry, I can't take Techdirt seriously anymore because of the shameless self promotion at the bottom of the page.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:37am

      Re:

      Seriously, what the hell are you people talking about? A bar with social media buttons is scaring you away?

      Good riddance to the troupe of opportunistically upset....

       

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      Trails (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:46am

      Re:

      Needs a way to close/minimize it imo, but discounting articles because of it is your own brand of self-inflicted stupidity i guess.

      Further, coming on this article to just to whine about it is a bit like if CBS were to release some stupid petulant press release after losing a court decision...

       

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    Pixelation, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:01am

    Dancing On The Stars, now that's hot!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:12am

    From the title, I was expecting a show about B-list celebrities lying on the ground and people dancing on top of them. The actual premise disappointed me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:34am

    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.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:02am

    1984

    Oh come on CBS George Orwell's 1984 ring a bell?

    "He who controls the past, controls the future"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:30am

    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.

     

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      drew (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:56pm

      Re:

      I agree with this actually.
      If you could wind back time and take the court case out of it, then imagine that this was their official response to someone copying an idea*, then I reckon that would actually have gone down pretty well.



      * that they've copied themselves, but hey...

       

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    DanZee (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 10:04am

    ABC

    The story should mention an ABC memo where the network asked its producers why they were licensing foreign shows when they could just steal the ideas and develop their own shows based on the concept. Look at CBS with its version of a Sherlock Homes series next fall that was obviously inspired by Stephen Moffitt's new take on Holmes for the BBC.

     

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    RD, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 10:25am

    Whining, entitled babies

    This is what you get when the world, the government and corporations are run by petulant, whining, entitled babies. There is their ID, and nothing else.

     

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    Nick Dynice (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:14pm

    Now we just need The Onion to announce their own network that will start producing multiple original programs and MTV to rename the new Snookie and JW show "Two and a Half People" (her baby is the half).

     

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    OldGeezer (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 3:25pm

    Knock offs of sucessful series nothing new!

    This has been going on since the early days of television. First there was "The Addams Family" then came "The Munsters". Then "Diff'rent Strokes" followed by "Webster" The list goes on.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:34pm

    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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    Philly Bob (profile), Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    Dancing...

    Dancing ON The Stars, eh?

    Christ, don't give my wife another damned reality show to watch!! :)
    Even jokingly...
    She'll be waiting all Summer for it and it'll be clogging up my DVR.

     

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    Paul Neubauer, Aug 21st, 2012 @ 4:14am

    Snarky Announcements

    It's a wonderful little press release and indicates that the company is populated with more than the walking dead.

    Dancing on the Stars, wonder if they'll take it beyond concept?

     

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