Norwegian cooking series not rip off, court rules

Karl I. Hagen (Vice President of the Storting/Progress Party) and his wife Eli Hagen stars in "4-stjerners middag". Photo: TVNorge

A Norwegian court has reached a verdict in the legal battle between Viasat-owned broadcaster TV3 and ProSiebenSat.1-owned rival TVNorge over the alleged plagiarism of ITV Studios’ Come Dine With Me format, writes

A court in Oslo ruled that TVNorge’s series 4 Stjerners Middag Halv åtte (Four Star Dinner: Half Past Eight) is not a rip-off of TV3’s show Klokka åtte Hos Meg (8 O’Clock At My Place), and rejected the latter’s request for an injunction to stop the show airing.

In its verdict, the court said that the two shows contained “a number of similarities, but also very clear differences.” Although they are very similar formats, TVNorge’s programme seemed more oriented towards viewers who were primarily concerned with celebrities, while TV3’s programme seemed targeted towards viewers more interested in the cookery side, it ruled.

It therefore did not agree with the assertion that TVNorge was acting in a manner “contrary to good business practice.” However, the court also chose not to impose court costs on TV3, since there was essentially no case law in this area.

The ruling comes after TVNorge launched 4 Stjerners Middag Halv åtte, an adaptation of a format devised by Hungarian/Romanian indie Paprika, in mid August. TV3 began airing Klokka åtte Hos Meg a week later, based on the Come Dine With Me format that ITV Studios makes for Channel 4 in the UK.

A fortnight after that, TV3 filed its injunction, accusing its rival of ripping off its format and demanding TVNorge stop all marketing, production and broadcasting of its programme.

TVNorge’s show pulled in an 187,000-strong audience with its premiere on August 10, while TV3 could only managed 93,000 with its premiere on August 17. At the time the lawsuit was launched, TVNorge topper Harald Strømme dismissed the claim as jealousy over ratings, saying: “We have in recent weeks had several times as many viewers as TV3’s programme.”

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