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CBS loses fight to stop US version of 'I'm a Celebrity...'

NEW YORK - CBS has lost out in its attempt to stop ABC running a US version of the hit UK reality television show 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here', as the UK gears up for a second series.

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The US show is due to go out next month while a second series in the UK is planned to air in March.

The Viacom-owned television network CBS argued in court that the show was a rip off of its own 'Survivor' reality television series.

However, US District Judge Loretta Preska turned down CBS's request for an injunction. The judge said that the more serious and competitive tone of 'Survivor' differed greatly from the less serious and more humorous nature of 'I'm a Celebrity...'.

"I find the works to be substantially different in concept and feel," she ruled after a hearing. CBS said it was now considering its options. CBS brought its case against ABC in August arguing that 'I'm a Celebrity...' was a direct copy of the 'Survivor' format.

The case in the US was initiated by Castaway Productions, the TV production company backed by Bob Geldof, which ultimately owns the 'Survivor' format.

ABC spokesman John Spelich said: "We're delighted with the court's decision, which we believe is entirely correct, and look forward to giving the American public a chance to see this fresh new reality show that has played to enormous audiences in the UK."

Granada, which produced the show in the UK for ITV, is thought to have sold the format to the Walt Disney-owned for as much as £10m. Granada is also overseeing the US version of the show.

In the UK the programme, which aired in August, was won by former BBC Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn who beat "it" girl Tara Palmer Tompkinson. The show's September 7 finale drew a huge 12m viewers.

Like the show in the UK, the US version will feature eight celebrities. Each night, viewers will vote on which star must take part in a physical challenge to win food for the night and the lowest polling members will be voted off by their rivals.

"We're excited about the show because it has the two essential elements for a successful reality series -- great drama and compelling characters," ABC senior vice-president of alternative series and specials Andrea Wong said. "You're seeing someone ripped from the headlines literally competing for their dinner."

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