You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Grammer sues agency to recover $1.8 mil

Thesp seeks to overturn SAG-arbitrated decision

Kelsey Grammer has sued the Artists Agency, his former agents, seeking to recover $1.8 million in commissions.

Suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, follows a Screen Actors Guild arbitration that ended with an order for Grammer to pay commissions he has withheld since 1998.

The agency also claims ongoing profit participation in Grammer’s hit series “Frasier,” and several million dollars more are at stake with the show in syndication.

Grammer’s attorney, Martin Singer, said, “Kelsey has always honored his obligations to his representatives, but in this case he wants to fight to the end because he believes that agents shouldn’t get commissions unless they do the work.”

Michael Livingston, one of Grammer’s agents at the Artists Agency, told Daily Variety, “We have been involved in a SAG arbitration for two years, which we won, and Kelsey Grammer doesn’t want to pay. It’s as simple as that.”

According to the complaint, Grammer became disappointed with the Artists Agency, which had begun to rep him in the 1980s. He alleges that the agency did not get him the role of Frasier Crane on “Cheers” or “Frasier,” a point Livingston disputes.

Believing that the Artists Agency was “holding his motion picture career hostage,” Grammer sought movie representation from United Talent Agency, but not before Artists Agency allegedly extracted a renewal contract from him on television work.

Grammer terminated his relationship with the agency in 1996 and stopped paying commissions in 1998. The Artists Agency then commenced arbitration. The arbitrators’ ruling, handed down Aug. 4, upholds the renewal agreements and orders Grammer to pay the withheld commissions.

Current suit, seeking to overturn the arbitration, alleges that the ruling violates SAG’s collective bargaining agreements because the renewal contracts had a term longer than three years, were not filed with SAG within 15 days and contained blanks when Grammer signed them.

More Biz

  • Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists

    Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists Are Owed by PledgeMusic

    For eight years, PledgeMusic was a success story: A direct-to-fan platform where artists worked directly with their audiences to fund their albums, tours and all stripes of merchandise, with fans able to purchase everything from custom guitar picks to private concerts. Yet last June, Variety broke the news that the company is struggling to pay [...]

  • Korea's CJ CGV Switches Turkey CEOs

    Korea's CJ CGV Switches Turkey CEOs as It Battles With Local Industry

    Yeun Seung-ro has been appointed as CEO of CGV Mars Entertainment, the Korean-owned company that operates Turkey’s largest cinema chain. He replaces Kwak Dong Won, another veteran of the CJ-CGV group. The change of personnel may reflect two ongoing battles within the Turkish film industry. CJ-CGV, which bought Mars for some $650 million in 2016. [...]

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up CEO Resigned After Son Was Accused of Sexual Assault

    Time’s Up has announced in a statement posted to Instagram that its former president and CEO Lisa Borders, who resigned Feb. 18, did so after her son was accused of sexual assault in a “private forum.” “Within 24 hours, Lisa made the decision to resign as President and CEO of Time’s Up and we agreed [...]

  • Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson has signed with Arista, sources tell Variety. While the singer was formerly linked with Epic Records in 2017, he is signed directly to Simon Cowell’s Syco label and will move within the Sony Music family to Arista. Tomlinson teased a new single on Feb. 2, posting on Twitter, “Just heard the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Bail Set at $100,000, Must Surrender Passport

    UPDATED: A Chicago judge set a $100,000 bond for Jussie Smollett on Thursday, as the “Empire” actor made his first court appearance. Smollett faces one felony count of filing a false police report. Police allege that Smollett staged a Jan. 29 attack, telling detectives that he was accosted by two men who used racial and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content