In October last year, Banijay International requested an injunction against Dutch producer Eyeworks on the grounds that there were “approximately 100 similarities” between its eight-year-old format Stars In Danger: High Diving and Eyeworks’ newcomer Celebrity Splash. A Dutch court has now poured cold water on Banijay’s claims, but both sides say they are considering further legal action.
Banijay had filed its injunction request amid a flurry of activity for the competing programs. At the time, Fox was ordering Stars In Danger (ultimately titled Stars In Danger: The High Dive), a two-hour special produced by Banijay’s Bunim/Murray, and ABC gave a straight-to-series order to Eyeworks’ Celebrity Splash. Banijay and sister company Brainpool had sought to have Eyeworks cease producing and distributing Celebrity Splash and were looking to be indemnified for damages suffered as a result of the alleged infringement and confusion in the market. But the Dutch court found that Celebrity Splash “did not and does not” infringe upon any of Banijay’s rights, Eyeworks said today. In turn, Eyeworks said it will now consider pursuing legal action against Banijay “for damages associated with their actions.” Banijay Group COO François de Brugada tells Deadline that the court acknowledged “there were clearly more similarities than differences between Celebrity Splash and our original format Stars in Danger: The High Dive, but decided that Eyeworks did not breach Dutch law… We now have several legal options open to us and we are currently exploring them. In the meantime, there will be two ‘celebrity diving’ formats on the market, the original and the copy.”
Celebrity Splash originally premiered in August 2012 in the Netherlands as Sterren Springen. It aired in the U.S. earlier this year, although it was plagued by injuries. It has also sold to such countries as the UK, France, Spain, China and Belgium. Since 2004, Stars In Danger has aired as an annual two-night, three-hour special on Germany’s ProSieben where it’s known as TV Total Turmspringen. The format has also waded into such territories as the Nordics, China, Italy, Turkey and Russia.