Celebrity Splash dives into legal battle
The French and the Dutch are fighting over who has dived into the shallow end of reality formats first.
A legal stoush is underway over Celebrity Splash, the format recently announced by Seven as coming in 2013.
French-based production group Banijay International has requested an injunction against Dutch group Eyeworks, claiming the show is a copy of the older German format, TV Total Turmspringen, created by Banijay subsidiary Brainpool.
At MIPCOM in Cannes, Eyeworks licensed the format to several major international broadcasters, including ABC in the US, ITV in the UK and TF1 in France and Seven in Australia.
Both formats involve celebrities diving into swimming pools.
In Celebrity Splash, nine celebrities receive training from a professional instructor before competing against one another in a series of high-diving elimination rounds.
Brainpool’s version has the celebs receiving instruction from Germany’s national swimming association before competing in different dives in front of a panel of judges.
Brainpool’s German version has been shown as a yearly event and will air for the 8th time later this year, but had not been successfully exported until just recently, when Banijay signed its first international licensing deals.
Eyeworks claims it was not aware of the Brainpool format and in a statement, managing director Sander Emmering said the German show “never attracted any substantial international exposure or interest.” Eyeworks has suggested Banijay only started actively selling the Brainpool diving format after Celebrity Splash became a hit.
Similar format fights recently have seen CBS take on ABC over its series The Glass House being too similar to Big Brother. Endemol France also sued Banijay over its French reality series Dilemme, claiming it borrowed from Endemol’s own French formats Secret Story and Loft Story.
Banijay recently invested into local production company Screentime.
Source: Hollywood Reporter