In an answer filed Monday in the “Boot Camp” suit, Fox Broadcasting Co. launched a broad-based attack against CBS, charging that it rigged contestant voting on the “Survivor” series.
Last month, the producers of the phenomenally popular “Survivor” series and CBS, which broadcasts the show, sued Fox in federal court for copyright infringement, claiming that “Boot Camp” is a rip-off of “Survivor” (Daily Variety, April 10).
In its answer, Fox accused CBS of “unclean hands,” a legal doctrine under which a court will refuse to reward a wrongdoer. According to Fox, CBS is attempting to monopolize reality-based television gameshows by bringing frivolous copyright actions while at the same time manipulating the results on “Survivor” to make it more appealing to its audience. In contrast to “Survivor,” Fox says the outcome on “Boot Camp” is not manipulated.
Fox declined to comment further on its answer.
CBS spokesman Chris Ender said, “Their answer has about as much credibility as a Rick Rockwell background check.” Rockwell was the discredited groom on the Fox television special, “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire.”
For its court reply, Fox relied heavily on a statement by Stacey E. Stillman as evidence that the outcome on “Survivor” is rigged. In February, Stillman sued CBS for arranging to have her voted off the show. She was later sued by the producers of “Survivor” for defamation and breach of contract.
Earlier this week, “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett admitted that portions of “Survivor” are re-enacted and body doubles have been used to re-create scenes in order to get overview footage without seeing the original camera crews.
‘Race Around World’
As part of its defense, Fox also relied on statements made by CBS in the “Race Around the World” lawsuit. Late last year, Fox sued CBS, alleging that CBS’ upcoming “Global Adventures” infringed its copyright in the Fox reality series “Race Around the World.” In that case, CBS exec Ghen Maynard said that there was room for similar series to run on television at the same time, citing as an example CBS’ “Chicago Hope” and NBC’s “ER.”
Fox claimed that CBS cannot take a position in the “Boot Camp” case that is inconsistent with the position it took in “Race Around the World.”
A source knowledgeable about the case termed Fox’s allegations of vote-rigging “a sideshow,” adding that the case will ultimately boil down to whether the elements of “Boot Camp” are so similar to those of “Survivor” that they constitute copyright infringement.