Sky News (a branch of the UK's BSkyB) reports that Sir Bob Geldof and Castaway Productions, the creators and owners of the concept for Survivor, are suing Granada Television and London Weekend Television for ripping off the concept with their summer UK hit I'm A Celebrity -- Get Me Out of Here!. The lawsuit for copyright infringement claims that the two shows were so similar that popular opinion held that they must be related -- an opinion expressed on the RealityTVWorld message boards but not true, according to Geldof and Castaway.
Since Survivor UK has been unsuccessful so far, it appears that the REAL parties in interest in this lawsuit are the American companies Viacom and Disney. Viacom, the owner of CBS TV, broadcasts the enormously popular US Survivor series, which has been syndicated throughout the world. Disney, the owners of ABC TV, have committed to licensing the British series for US production this winter, which could significantly damage the CBS hit.
Considering Disney's long-standing ardent support for copyright protection, this lawsuit could end ABC's plans for the time being ... or bring Disney yet another barrage of bad publicity for corporate hypocrisy, as well as a U.S. lawsuit to match the U.K. one. Granada claims that it will "vigorously defend" the action, so, barring an unexpected settlement, intellectual property lawyers may get to see a couple of U.S. heavyweights slug it out for high stakes.