Bad television is still recognized as "intellectual property" no matter how stupid it is, as ABC has discovered in recent months with its hit Wipeout. After some vocal complaints from a producer who claimed the network not only ripped off his "inbreds on an obstacle course" idea but conspired with YouTube to pull evidence from the site, the Japanese network that launched the original show officially filed suit today against ABC to reclaim its fragile sense of propriety over irredeemably dumb shit — not to mention unspecified monetary damages:
“From the moment ABC revealed Wipeout to the public, that program has been routinely described as a ‘rip-off’ and ‘knockoff’ of Plaintiff’s shows,” reads the complaint [brought by the Tokyo Broadcasting System]. “ABC’s willfull and wrongful use of Plaintiff’s Shows to create Wipeout is egregious, inexcusable and not to be tolerated. [...] "Wipeout unlawfully appropriates the premise, the format, the sequence of events, the introductory segment, the tone, the scene setups, the narration, the dialogue that arises from constructed situations ... of the shows," the lawsuit reads.As one observer notes, individuals sue over successful reality show concepts all the time, but networks rarely challenge each other to a race of their own across the treacherous padded minefield of copyright law. So we hope that TBS and ABC can strap on their helmets for an international playoff: The network head to get the farthest along the course in two out of three matches gets the rights to Wipeout/Takeshi's Castle/MXC. The winner gets the ratings, the loser gets a hero's welcome and a national holiday upon returning home. On your marks, get set, go. Not so fast, ABC.
- Japanese broadcaster sues ABC over 'Wipeout' [The Live Feed]