NBC and Fox: Copycat fight redux?

Has one of TV’s most fun rivalries been reignited?

NBC announced Wednesday that it planned to add to its summer schedule “It’s Worth What?”, a reality series featuring Cedric the Entertainer hosting a “game show that taps into America’s curiosity for cost and value, from the hidden gems found in one’s attic to some of the most exotic valuables from around the globe,” according to the Peacock’s release. Cedric

Just hours before NBC disclosed “Worth” was coming July 12 (Tuesdays, 8-9 p.m.), Fox issued its own release rearranging its summer schedule, slotting for Aug. 24 (Wednesdays, 8-9 p.m.) “Buried Treasure,” “in which identical twin brothers Leigh and Leslie Keno (“Antiques Roadshow”) travel across the country to help ordinary people discover the unknown treasures in their homes,” according to the network’s release.

Is this a coincidence or did NBC sense an opening once Fox put “Treasure” on the schedule? And did Fox greenlight “Treasure” only after NBC signaled back in March its pickup of “Worth”?

Neither NBC or Fox will comment, but that may be because this is sensitive territory for these networks, which share a rich history of dueling copycat reality shows.

Back in 2004, the rivals took a battle over a pair of boxing-themed reality series, NBC’s “The Contender” and Fox’s “The Next Great Champ,” to court, with NBC ultimately unsuccessful in its attempt to get an injunction to block the Fox show.

That same year, Fox and NBC did some jawing over the similarities between “The Apprentice” and “The Billionaire,” respectively. Which isn’t to say that the copycat accusations didn’t flow both ways: NBC’s “For Love Or Money” bore an unmistakable resemblance to Fox’s short-lived sensation “Joe Millionaire.” And in 2007, Fox rushed “Don’t Forget The Lyrics” to air to get ahead of NBC’s “The Singing Bee.”

It’s worth noting that the formats for “Worth”/”Treasure” aren’t entirely the same: While both are centered on assessing overlooked household gems, “Worth” is a game show, unlike “Treasure.” But NBC is putting Fox at a disadvantage if viewers who see “Treasure” find it stale in light of “Worth” getting on air first.

Then again, the truth is NBC and Fox aren’t so much borrowing from each other but from the cornucopia of antique-themed shows elsewhere on the dial. Besides the grandaddy of them all, PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow,” take your pick: History’s “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers,” TruTV’s “Hardcore Pawn,” HGTV’s “Cash and Cari,” TLC’s “What the Sell!?” Spike’s “Auction Hunters,” etc.

It’s worth questioning why either broadcaster hasn’t considered that America’s seemingly insatiable demand to watch old junk fetch new dollars has already been satiated.

At least it’s fitting that antiquing has become the most over-recycled programming concept on TV.

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