Dispute over merchandising revenue had been scheduled for July 17 trial
“Happy Days” has some happy cast members, as thesps settled Friday in a dispute against CBS and Paramount over merchandising revenue from the sitcom.
“The terms of the settlement are confidential but we are satisfied with the outcome,” said the actors’ attorney Jon Pfeiffer in a statement, adding that cast members will “continue to receive all of the merchandising royalties promised” to them in their contracts.
Last year, series regulars Anson Williams, Marion Ross, Donny Most, Erin Moran, as well as Tom Bosley’s widow, Patricia, filed a lawsuit claiming they were owed royalties on the use of their images in series merchandise. Henry Winkler and Ron Howard, who also starred in the show, were not part of the dispute.
CBS also released a statement: “The case has been settled. All contractual obligations will be honored, as we had promised from the beginning. We appreciate the court’s earlier dismissal of the far-reaching claims, which paved the way for an ordinary settlement based on contractual issues.”
Plaintiffs had at one point filed a fraud claim agains the studios, which Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White threw out earlier in the case. That prohibited the thesps from getting punitive damages, leaving the parties to resolve the remaining contract dispute.
Trial had been scheduled to begin July 17.
Paramount produced “Happy Days,” which aired from 1974 to 1984, while CBS owns the show.
As part of its defense, CBS claimed that the series did not generate an abundance of merchandising rights, noting that a wallet bearing the images of several cast members netted each of them just $25.75 each for their respective likenesses.
But cast members countered with the fact that their likenesses were also used for homevideo sales and on t-shirts, board games, greeting cards and slot machines. Furthermore, they claimed that CBS and Paramount failed to provide revenue statements that would have made clear what was owed.
The original suit, filed April 19, 2011, sought $10 million.
Paramount did not respond for a request for comment.