Tuesday, April 19, 2011

'Happy Days' Actors Claim Fraud, Money Owed

UPDATE, April 20, 2011:

An attorney for the actors said there's breach of contract because CBS broke a promise to pay the actors and fraud because it purposefully didn't pay.

CBS said in a statement to CNN, "We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue."

The actors say they're owed millions of dollars. CBS says thousands. The launch of the "Happy Days" slot machine was apparently the last straw.

Earlier posting....
"Happy Days," one of the most popular shows in television history, faces an unhappy legacy nearly four decades after it first went on the air, according to a story by CNN's Scott Zamost and CNNMoney's Poppy Harlow at money.cnn.com.

Four cast members, and the estate of Tom Bosley, who died last October, claim CBS (CBS, Fortune 500), which owns the show, has not paid them for merchandising revenues they are owed under their contracts.

The show, which originally aired from 1974 to 1984, "represented to the public what the best of America has to offer," said Anson Williams, who played Potsie. "The friendships, the opportunities, the warmth.

Unfortunately, now 'Happy Days' also represents the worst of America -- of what major companies are trying to get from it, trying to use it for, and forgetting the family it created."

In exclusive interviews with CNN, the cast members -- Williams, Don Most, Marion Ross and Erin Moran -- all claim they have been cut out of the merchandising bonanza the show has spawned. Those products includes comic books, t-shirts, scrapbooks, trading cards, games, lunch boxes, dolls, toy cars, magnets, greeting cards and DVDs where their images appear on the box covers.

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