Some of the best ideas in television are stolen… allegedly. Which network shows were ripped-off? Who stole another show’s idea? Many networks have found themselves in legal trouble after writers or other networks accused them of copyright infringement, slander, unfair business practices, sought injunctions, damages, or all of the above.
The list below of the TV shows sued for being rip-offs describes the legal battles over the rights to some of the best television shows. Many writers and producers claim they had meetings and were subsequently ignored or rejected, only to see their idea on the small screen years later - like producer Anthony Spinner, who said ABC’s hit show “Lost” was all too similar to a show he pitched way back in 1977.
CBS isn’t shy about getting involved in television legal battles. In 2002, they sued ABC for stealing the idea for “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here” from CBS mega-hit “Survivor.” Though the judge threw out the case, it didn’t stop CBS from suing ABC again, ten years later. In 2012, CBS claimed that ABC’s “The Glass House” blatantly ripped off their long-running “Big Brother” reality competition series. In the end, CBS and ABC settled.