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Wednesday, 11 April, 2001, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Reality TV goes to war

Army recruits are put through their paces
The makers of US reality TV hit Survivor are suing the producers of Boot Camp, claiming it is a rip-off of the CBS show.

Both formats consist of contestants in harsh living conditions, required to perform difficult tasks and vote other members out of the running, according to the lawsuit filed on Monday.

"All in all, aside from its military setting, the premise and format of Boot Camp are virtually identical to Survivor," the complaint states.

Richard Hatch
Richard Hatch won 1m on Survivor
CBS also claims the Fox network and Boot Camp's producers engaged in unfair competition, unfair business practices and civil conspiracy.

Fox has responded to the complaint by saying it is "frivolous".

"There is absolutely no basis for the claims made by CBS," Fox said in a statement.

"The shows are very different and we believe this is a frivolous lawsuit."

According to the CBS lawsuit, the production company behind Boot Camp - LMNO - proposed the idea to CBS last year, but the network was unreceptive.

LMNO then sold the show to Fox, hired Survivor producer Scott Messick and "modified the program to more closely resemble Survivor," according to the complaint.


A Fox representative also pointed out that there are often many similar series running at the same time on different networks.

Survivor was last summer's runaway TV hit in the US as audiences of just under fifty-two million people tuned in to watch 16 contestants marooned by CBS on a South Pacific island.

Contestants tried to outwit each other and endure challenges like eating insects and rats, walking on hot coals and standing for hours under the sun on a tree stump.

Survivor contestants arrive on Pulau Tiga
Each week the castaways voted to banish one of their own from the island - but successful completion of the challenges earned the contestants immunity from being voted off the island.

A British version is currently being made for ITV.

Boot Camp was launched on Fox TV in March and consists of sixteen people competing with the aim of surviving a military-style training camp - the eventual winners take home a 350,000 prize.

The competitors in the show - to be aired by Sky One in the UK - will undergo training as well as taking part in a number of pseudo-military missions, including rescuing hostages, crossing landmined areas and locating a top secret installation.

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