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By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 14, 2003 03:12 PM
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If “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” can co-exist, so can CBS’s “Survivor” and an upcoming ABC reality show, a New York federal judge has decided.

ABC has emerged victorious in a legal battle with CBS over whether its newest reality series is too close to the hit “Survivor” franchise. The future ABC show in question — titled “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” — appears to be different enough from CBS’s established reality show (hosted by Jeff Probst and featuring a tribal council) so as to distinguish one from the other, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska determined, according to the Associated Press.

While blatant copying is not allowed, the jurist stated in her ruling, network programming has traditionally been “a continual evolutionary process involving borrowing frequently from what has gone before.”

In November, CBS sued to prevent what it considered ABC’s copycat from airing.

But as the judge determined, “Both shows combine well-known and frequently used elements of earlier works. Each series also includes well-known elements not in the other.”

John Spelich, a spokesman for The Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, said: “We’re delighted with the court’s decision … and look forward to giving the American public a chance to see this fresh new reality show.”

In its statement, CBS said: “The judge ruled that due to its quality and tone, the ABC program is substantially different than ‘Survivor.’ We respect the ruling and are now studying our options.”