Suit alleges co-creator cheated out of over $8 million
HOLLYWOOD — Michael Moye, co-creator and executive producer of the television series “Married … with Children,” has sued Sony Pictures Entertainment, claiming he has been cheated out of at least $8 million in profits.
In a complaint filed Friday in L.A. Superior Court, Moye’s production company, Ivy Street Prods., alleges that under a deal he had with Embassy Communications, a unit of Sony, he was entitled to net profits from the hit show under a series of written contracts.
“We don’t want to litigate the case in the media, but we look forward to proving the allegations of the complaint and to a speedy trial,” said Moye’s attorney, Joan Steinmann of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro.
A Sony spokesman said the studio does not comment on pending litigation, and it had not seen the complaint.
According to the suit, Moye and co-creator Ron Leavitt came up with idea for “Married” in 1986, when they were under contract with Embassy, and sold the series to Fox Broadcasting Co. The hugely successful series aired for 11 years on Fox’s television network, and it has been successful and profitable in syndication as well.
A series of written agreements between Ivy Street and Embassy gave Moye profit participation in varying amounts throughout the life of the series. According to the complaint, Embassy breached the agreement in numerous ways, including failing to report revenues; making a sweetheart deal with Fox to receive money without reporting it to Moye; and excessive charging for costs.
The complaint asserts claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Suit alleges that by systematically underreporting revenues and overstating costs and expenses, Embassy has bilked Moye of more than $8 million.