By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK - A federal judge will likely decide next week whether ABC's upcoming celebrity-themed reality show should be scrapped because it too closely resembles CBS ratings magnet "Survivor."
In two days of hearings that ended Tuesday, CBS Broadcasting Inc. asked U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to block ABC Inc. from airing "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" in February.
CBS lawyer Leslie Gordon Fagen said ABC's celebrity show was copied from its Emmy award-winning show "Survivor," which began airing in May 2000 and routinely finishes in the Top 10 of the Nielsen Media Research ratings.
ABC lawyer Thomas Smart said ABC acted on its own.
"The history of television is derived from generic concepts," he said. "It is in the execution, which is the expression, that the protection arises. We have not infringed their expression."
The judge said she would probably rule Jan. 13.
Charlie Parsons, owner of the rights to "Survivor," testified that what he saw of "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" left him thinking "they had taken tracing paper to `Survivor' and copied it in order to make the same program but with slight variations in the hopes that they would kind of get away with it."
James Allen, a director of British company Granada Factual, said he helped create "I'm a Celebrity" with ideas he came up with in 1996 after thinking about other British-based shows, including one featuring a comedian left to fend for herself on a desert island for nine days.
He said he had seen only about a third of one airing of "Survivor."
On "Survivor," 16 contestants dropped into the wilds of the world compete in challenges for food rewards and the right to stay on the show. One contestant is voted off each week; the last person wins $1 million.
ABC's celebrity-based series would deposit eight celebrities in a remote location, give them tasks or trials to perform and allow them to eat if they do well, according to promotional material.
Allen said it will provide "the delightful prospect of us being able to watch two weeks as people who are used to a pampered lifestyle are thrown into an alien environment."
CBS President Leslie Moonves said viewers of ABC's celebrity-based show would mistakenly think it was made by the makers of "Survivor," cheapening one of the network's top products and costing CBS millions of dollars.
Moonves also said CBS was forced to stop plans to bring its own celebrity-based "Survivor" show to market because ABC came out with one first. "It's sort of hard to start ours going when theirs is already in existence," he said