You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

No cheers for animated Norm, Cliff at Host bars

“Norm” and “Cliff” of NBC’s “Cheers,” known in real life as George Wendt and John D. Ratzenberger, have been animated, much to their dismay.

Actors Wendt and Ratzenberger filed suit late last week in the Central District Court in Los Angeles against Host Intl., a Delaware corporation that has built several facsimiles of the “Cheers” bar in airports around the country.

Host, which received a license from Paramount to build and operate bars that resemble “Cheers,” has taken the concept a step further: They have installed life-sized animatronic robots in these bars that are supposed to look like Norm and Cliff.

These robots move and even banter back and forth, much in the same manner as Norm and Cliff.

“It’s our contention that the license from Paramount does not address bringing in robots that take on these characters,” noted lawyer T. Patrick Freydl of the law firm Freydl & Associates, with offices in Detroit and Los Angeles. “We’ve had ongoing discussions with them about this, and now this is the next step.”

To date, the company has built the bars in airports in Kansas City, St. Louis , Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Anchorage and Christchurch, New Zealand.

Wendt and Ratzenberger contend, in part, that Host’s use of the Norm and Cliff characters will mislead the public into thinking that the two men–not their robot counterparts–are endorsing the products being sold and/or are affiliated with Host.

The successful comedy is currently in its last season for NBC.

The suit charges unfair competition, infringement of right of publicity, invasion of privacy by appropriation of name and likeness and unfair business practices, among other things. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

“As far as we’re concerned, you can’t refer to Norm or Cliff without referring to Wendt and Ratzenberger,” Freydl said.

A spokesman for Host could not be reached for comment.

More TV

  • Sense8

    TV News Roundup: ‘Sense8’ Finale Special Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    “Norm” and “Cliff” of NBC’s “Cheers,” known in real life as George Wendt and John D. Ratzenberger, have been animated, much to their dismay. Actors Wendt and Ratzenberger filed suit late last week in the Central District Court in Los Angeles against Host Intl., a Delaware corporation that has built several facsimiles of the “Cheers” […]

  • Nicole Emanuele Katherine Oliver

    North Fork TV Festival Sets Judges Panel

    “Norm” and “Cliff” of NBC’s “Cheers,” known in real life as George Wendt and John D. Ratzenberger, have been animated, much to their dismay. Actors Wendt and Ratzenberger filed suit late last week in the Central District Court in Los Angeles against Host Intl., a Delaware corporation that has built several facsimiles of the “Cheers” […]

  • AMERICAN IDOL - "114 (Top 10

    'American Idol': On the Scene for the Show's Emotional First Live Elimination

    “Norm” and “Cliff” of NBC’s “Cheers,” known in real life as George Wendt and John D. Ratzenberger, have been animated, much to their dismay. Actors Wendt and Ratzenberger filed suit late last week in the Central District Court in Los Angeles against Host Intl., a Delaware corporation that has built several facsimiles of the “Cheers” […]

  • Lost in Space Netflix

    Netflix 'Lost in Space' Reboot Draws 6.3 Million Viewers in First 3 Days, Nielsen Says

    “Norm” and “Cliff” of NBC’s “Cheers,” known in real life as George Wendt and John D. Ratzenberger, have been animated, much to their dismay. Actors Wendt and Ratzenberger filed suit late last week in the Central District Court in Los Angeles against Host Intl., a Delaware corporation that has built several facsimiles of the “Cheers” […]

  • The Path Season 3 Hulu

    'The Path' Canceled at Hulu After 3 Seasons

    “Norm” and “Cliff” of NBC’s “Cheers,” known in real life as George Wendt and John D. Ratzenberger, have been animated, much to their dismay. Actors Wendt and Ratzenberger filed suit late last week in the Central District Court in Los Angeles against Host Intl., a Delaware corporation that has built several facsimiles of the “Cheers” […]

  • Clayne Crawford, a cast member in

    Clayne Crawford Explains His 'Lethal Weapon' Reprimands, Apologizes to Cast and Crew

    “Norm” and “Cliff” of NBC’s “Cheers,” known in real life as George Wendt and John D. Ratzenberger, have been animated, much to their dismay. Actors Wendt and Ratzenberger filed suit late last week in the Central District Court in Los Angeles against Host Intl., a Delaware corporation that has built several facsimiles of the “Cheers” […]

  • Sinclair

    Sinclair Revises Station Divestiture Plan Following Pushback From Regulators

    “Norm” and “Cliff” of NBC’s “Cheers,” known in real life as George Wendt and John D. Ratzenberger, have been animated, much to their dismay. Actors Wendt and Ratzenberger filed suit late last week in the Central District Court in Los Angeles against Host Intl., a Delaware corporation that has built several facsimiles of the “Cheers” […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content