B'caster TV Globo to sue over reality ripoff

RIO DE JANEIRO — Leading broadcaster TV Globo said it will sue rival SBT for airing “Casa dos Artistas,” a reality show it alleges is a “cheap copy” of its “Big Brother.”

On Tuesday a defiant SBT said it had no plans to drop the daily show, adding, “Brazil’s entertainment industry will only grow if TV Globo allows it.”

SBT accused TV Globo, which has a 50% audience share, of being a private monopoly.

“Casa dos Artistas” (Artists’ Home) bowed Oct. 28 against the preem of the third series of TV Globo’s “Survivor”-like reality gameshow “No Limite.”

The “Casa dos Artistas” project was surrounded by secrecy. The participants, who are actors, singers, musicians and models, live in a house full of cameras for 45 days at an undisclosed location. By the third week, they start voting each other out. The last man or woman standing will receive a prize of about $110,000.

TV Globo licensed the rights to “Big Brother” from Endemol. The pair inked a joint production deal in August, creating Endemol Globo.

Budget slashing

Meanwhile, falling ad revenue has forced TV Globo to cut production costs; however, communications head Luis Erlanger declined to give figures for the reductions Tuesday.

“The country’s economic slowdown is affecting all sectors, including media companies,” he said, denying local reports that the broadcaster would cancel shows or reduce staffing.

The production division will trim location shooting, travel, hotel and off-set shooting.

The upcoming series “Os Quintos dos Infernos” was to have included scenes shot in Portugal, for example; TV Globo will now lense in Brazil.

The cuts will not affect Globo Filmes, the sister film division which produces made-for-TV pics for the network and films for theatrical release.

TV Globo produces 90% of its programming inhouse.

Net revenue at the broadcast division fell 12.3% through June of this year, down to $495 million from $565 million a year ago.

Despite lower revs, TV Globo held on to its 77.7% piece of the broadcast ad pie for the same period. Its average audience share for the first half of 2001 crept up to 51%, versus 49% a year earlier.

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