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Judge blinds Eye in global sights

Takasugi rules balance of harm against Fox

Fox Family Channel has been granted a temporary restraining order against CBS and its planned reality-based “Race Around the World.”

Making a rare judicial order, U.S. District Court Judge Robert M. Takasugi ruled Monday during oral argument that the balance of harm is sharply against Fox and that he would enjoin production of the show.

Exact terms have not been determined, but it is expected that the order will restrain CBS from promoting, publicizing or otherwise going forward with the production.

“We’re absolutely delighted by the court’s ruling,” said Carole Handler, who along with Belynda Reck represents Fox Family. “Fox Family created this show as its signature program, and this is the first step in determining that it can, indeed, go forward with its plan.”

Steve Marenberg of Irell & Manella, who represents CBS, said: “The court’s ruling today is not a decision on the merits of the case. The court set another hearing two weeks from today to further explore the merits, and we look forward to having the opportunity to prove our case at that time — and we expect we will prevail then.”

The restraining order will stay in force until the hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction, which is scheduled for Nov. 20.

Fox Family Channel launched its lawsuit last month against CBS and a slew of other defendants, alleging that the Eye net stole the concept for “Race Around the World,” a program in which families are sent across the globe in competition with each other to be the first to return to the United States.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, alleged that a Fox Family employee came up with the show concept and name in 1998, long before the “Survivor” phenomenon, and that CBS had learned about it either from a Daily Variety story or from a CAA agent who had attended a confidential meeting at Fox Family Channel.

On Sept. 13, Daily Variety reported that CBS was preparing a reality-based show called “Race Around the World” to debut summer 2001 or sooner.

The complaint also seeks monetary damages and asserts copyright infringement under the U.S. Copyright Act and unfair competition under the Lanham Act.

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