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New Zealand production company sues TBS and Lowe's over upcoming 'House Rules' program

By Reality TV World staff, 09/18/2003 

Daily Variety is reporting that a small New Zealand TV television production company has filed a suit in the U.S. alleging that TBS' upcoming "House Rules," scheduled to premiere on October 10, breaches the copyright of their hit New Zealand series called "Dream Home."

According to the report, Ninox Films and New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ co-own the copyright to "Dream Home," a house makeover show that airs during primetime in New Zealand and has already been licensed to South Africa and France.

The suit, filed August 27 in the U.S. District Court in New York, alleges that "House Rules" uses material supplied by Ninox through its U.S. representatives and in additon to TBS, names the "house Rules" producers Magna Entertainment and home improvement chain (and series sponsor) Lowe's as defendants. Ninox alleges that Magna's parent company, McCann-Erickson, reviewed Ninox's confidential copyrighted proposals in November 2001 and was interested in placing the show on PBS, however, before an agreement was reached, McCann "abruptly and inexplicably changed its position," rejected them and replicated the show for TBS."

When contacted by Variety, TBS refused to comment on the lawsuit.

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