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Judge strands ‘Survivor’

Alphabet wins case as shows are deemed different

CBS has lost its bid to keep ABC from airing the upcoming reality skein “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!”

A Manhattan U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of ABC and producer Granada, arguing that the show’s concept and feel was totally different from that of the Eye’s “Survivor.”

ABC will now move forward as planned and air “Celebrity” over 15 consecutive days during February sweeps.

“We’re delighted with the court’s decision, which we believe is entirely correct, and we look forward to giving the American public a chance to see this fresh new reality show that has played to enormous audiences in the United Kingdom,” said a spokesman at ABC parent Disney.

CBS filed suit against the network and “Celebrity” producers in November, arguing that it was a direct ripoff of “Survivor.” The network asked for a court order to keep the Alphabet net from airing the skein.

Instead, Judge Loretta Preska contended that copyright law only protects the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. She ruled that “Survivor” boasted a serious tone, while “Celebrity” was more silly; the judge also said “Survivor” boasted better production values.

In a statement, CBS took a between-the-lines swipe at “Celebrity,” using Preska’s explanation of the difference between the two shows.

“The judge ruled that due to its quality and tone, the ABC program is substantially different than ‘Survivor,’ ” a network spokesman said. “We respect the ruling and are studying the options.”

Speaking to reporters at the UPN portion of the Television Critics Assn. press tour, CBS topper Leslie Moonves called the similarities “blatant” between “Survivor” and “Celebrity.”

(Reuters contributed to this report.)

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