The reality show "Survivor" won't be migrating to Channel 2 for now. A day after seemingly assuring its own survival for the next two years, on Wednesday Channel 10 won a court injunction temporarily preventing the show's producer from transfering broadcasting rights to Channel 2 franchisee Reshet.
Judge Gideon Ginat of the Tel Aviv District Court froze an agreement between Reshet and British-based Castaway Television Productions, worldwide owner of the "Survivor" show format, for three months. During that time, Castaway was ordered to begin negotiating in good faith with Channel 10 over extending its rights to produce the Israeli version of the show.
Channel 10 has carried "Hisardut" - as the program is called in Hebrew - since it began broadcasting in Israel.
Channel 10 sought to retain the show after Reshet announced last July it had signed with Castaway for the rights to broadcast it. The following month Channel 10 sued to nullify the agreement, claiming this contravened its own contract with Castaway which still remained in force. The British company countered by claiming Channel 10 had violated the terms of the agreement by not making its payments on time.
"The program's transfer to Reshet, a direct competitor of Channel 10 - particularly during a financially difficult period for the channel - would cause it substantial and perhaps irreversible economic and promotional damage," the judge wrote in his decision.
"It's impossible not to wonder, to put it mildly, about Reshet's course of action in such circumstances by approaching Castaway about buying the rights to the format while obviously aware of the longstanding relationship between Castaway and Channel 10. In doing so it has only itself to blame."
Channel 10, which has produced the Israeli version of "Survivor" for six straight seasons, claimed its agreement with Castaway provided it with an option for exclusive rights to negotiate for an additional season. Castaway argued that Channel 10 had given up the option but Channel 10 disputed this assertion.
Ginat also ordered Reshet to refrain from starting production of the show's seventh season, including filming, casting, negotiating with suppliers or professionals, and auditions, "to enable the sides to conduct negotiations efficiently, to the point, and in good faith," he declared. The judge also ordered Castaway and Reshet to reimburse Channel 10 NIS 33,000 for legal costs.
Reshet responded: "Since the court has turned into a reality tearjerker, we'll be forced to appeal to the Supreme Court."
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