French production and distribution group Banijay said this morning that it is taking legal advice relating to concerns that Eyeworks’ format Celebrity Splash is too similar to its own show Stars in Danger.
Banijay said it has recruited copyright lawyers to examine the legal situation and, if appropriate, to commence legal action against Eyeworks.
The Banijay format, Stars in Danger, was known locally as TV total Turmspringen, and aired on German free-to-air network ProSieben. It was made by Banijay’s Brainpool.
Both the Banijay and Eyeworks shows revolve around the idea of celebrities taking part in physical competition.
Eyeworks immediately refuted Banijay’s claims. It said that its format is designed as a four-to-eight episode series whereas the Banijay show in question consists of one-off events. It also claimed the Banijay show has “never attracted any substantial international exposure or interest”.
“We understand that Banijay is considering legal measures and we are actually quite surprised that they have apparently made this public,” Sander Emmering, MD and executive producer, Eyeworks Netherlands told TBI. “This is the more disturbing since we have just released the press statement that, after the successful launch of the program in the Netherlands, we sold Celebrity Splash to parties in the UK, France and Australia while there is great interest from many other territories.”
He added: “We have developed this new format in-house, and the way that diving by celebrities is brought to life in our show is in line with other distinct formats that we have developed in the past.”
Banijay now sells the format internationally although SevenOne (now Red Arrow) previously handled distribution.
Eyeworks’ Celebrity Splash aired on SBS 6 in the Netherlands where it was known as Sterren Springen.
The first episode went out in August, garnering a 24% share, more than double the channel’s primetime average.