'Survivor' Files Lawsuit Versus 'Boot Camp', Claims Copyright Law Violations"
By Reality TV World staff, 04/11/2001
CBS and Mark Burnett (the producer of 'Survivor') have filed a lawsuit claiming that Fox's show is a rip-off of the No. 1-rated reality show 'Survivor.'
The lawsuit contends that ``Boot Camp'' has violated federal copyright law and California state law by mimicking significant elements of the CBS program. The suit, filed Monday in federal court in Los Angeles, seeks unspecified monetary damages and changes in 'Boot Camp,' which was 24th in last week's Nielsen ratings. Fox and 'Boot Camp' producer LMNO Productions Inc. are among those named as defendants.
"All in all, aside from its military setting, the premise and format of 'Boot Camp' are virtually identical to 'Survivor,'" alleges the suit filed on behalf of CBS and 'Survivor' creator Mark Burnett. "There is absolutely no basis for the claims made by CBS and Mark Burnett," Fox said in a statement Tuesday. "The shows are very different and we believe this is a frivolous lawsuit."
The lawsuit alleges LMNO Productions initially pitched the show to CBS Television President Leslie Moonves in June 2000 as a way to capitalize on the success of 'Survivor.' In 'Boot Camp,' contestants vying for a cash prize were to be voted off by drill instructors, the suit claims. When CBS rejected the show, LMNO tailored 'Boot Camp' more closely to 'Survivor,'
including giving voting rights to contestants, the suit says. (this would seem to explain the conflicting media reports that persisted until the show's premiere over how contestants were booted)
LMNO also hired Scott Messick, a producer of the first 'Survivor,' as director and executive producer of 'Boot Camp,' according to the suit.