Geldof sues Granada for ripping off 'Survivor' format

LONDON - Castaway Productions, the TV production company backed by Bob Geldof, is suing Granada for ripping off the format of its 'Survivor' reality TV game show and using it for 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here'.

Castaway is seeking damages and an injunction for infringement of copyright against Granada and its London Weekend Television station, because it did not get permission from the company when making 'Celebrity', which featured D-list celebrities such as Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Tony Blackburn, Darren Day and Christine Hamilton.

The stars of the show were stranded in the Australian bush and set tasks to complete, which earned the group food and other privileges.

No prize money was awarded, but money raised from the telephone calls made by the public to vote off the stars during the show's two-week run was given to charity. The programme, which finished three weeks ago, was won by former Radio 1 DJ Blackburn.

Castaway owns the worldwide rights to 'Survivor', which puts 16 members of the public in a remote location and forces them to compete for basic necessities required for survival. They then vote each other out until only two are left, when a winner is chosen by a war council.

The winner of 'Survival' picks up £1m, or in the US $1m. It has proved hugely successful in the US where the show is in its fifth series.

A statement from Castaway Productions, said: "'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here' was not made by or with the consent of Castaway, the owner of the worldwide rights in the international hit television series 'Survivor', contrary to widespread belief. 'Survivor' took many years to develop, a process costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. Castaway regards the protection of its intellectual property rights most seriously.

"Castaway Television Productions would like it to be clear that this claim in no way jeopardises the charity element of the programme."

Granada is set to pick up £10m for the rights to 'Celebrity' in a deal with US network ABC, which wants to show the series on its network.

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