Big Brother 8 producers send cease-and-desist letter to banner pilot

A pilot who “was planning a flyover carrying a message that told the other players in the house that Eric is ‘America’s Player'” has received a cease-and-desist order from Big Brother 8‘s producers, TMZ reports.

This pilot did not tow the banner that finally brought this season to life–which rumors said was paid for by Big Brother season six and seven star Janelle, although she posted on Survivor Sucks that it’s not true: “I would never send a banner outing Eric nor would any of my fans.”

Pilot Jerry Hider told TMZ that he will comply with the production company’s demands. “If I had a bunch of attorneys I would fight this, but it’s not worth my time,” he said. In a letter from its lawyer [PDF], Endemol demands that he stop using the show’s name on his web site because morons might confuse that with something sponsored by CBS, and said that his towing of banners would destroy the game. Excerpts from the lawyer’s demands:

“As you are aware, other than Eric, all of the Big Brother houseguests are purposefully unaware of this twist, thereby making it an essential and critical component of the Program. In addition, our client’s business partners, including, without limitation, CBS, have relied on this information remaining secret to the other houseguests in distributing, sponsoring, and marketing the Program. Accordingly, your proposed action will constitute, among other things, tortious interference with our client’s business relationships in connection with the Program and thereby cause our client to suffer immediate and irreparable injury. Your proposed action will also constitute a nuisance as it will create excessive noise pollution and interfere with the production of the Program. In light of the substantial damage your proposed action will cause to our client, and the fact that you have interfered with past productions of the Program by flying other banners over the Big Brother House, we full intend to enforce our client’s rights…”

Such unmitigated arrogance–as if CBS owns the sky above its precious hamster cage. The network also appears to be confused about the effect the banners are having on the show. In a statement to TMZ, CBS said:

“It’s always great to have fans that are this engaged and passionate about ‘Big Brother.’ However, we also need to protect the integrity of the competition, which does not allow any outside influence on the houseguests who are sequestered from the public broadcast and therefore unaware of some of the secret twists in the show.”

Of course, that’s utter bullshit. Their lawyer’s own letter identifies example number one, America’s Player, the whole point of which is to encourage “outside influence on the houseguests.” Of course, America’s Player generates 99 cent text messages and web site hits; banners only make the show not suck.

“Big Brother” Wings Pilot [TMZ]
Big Brother 8: Who flew that banner over the house? [Gay Socialites]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.