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aldiboronti
04-19-2011, 02:15 PM
Happy Days cast sue CBS (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1378526/Happy-Days-cast-sue-CBS-fraud-breach-contract-claiming-owed-millions.html?ito=feeds-newsxml)

They were once so happy they brought joy to millions of households all over the world.

But the cast of Happy Days are currently far from being anything close to happy. In fact they are angry.

For they are claiming that CBS has deprived them of much-needed money the network made from the merchandising bonanza the show spawned.

They are now suing for fraud and breach of contract.

The actors involved are Anson Williams, Don Most , Marion Ross and Erin Moran. (No Fonzie, I notice.) Sad to see that Marion has fallen on hard times.

Marion Ross told CNN: 'It takes a lot to make me angry because so often my expectations are so low. But the other day someone came up to me and said, "You must be cleaning up on those casinos". And I said, "Well, what are you talking about?" And he said, "If you get five Marions, you get the jackpot".'

She lost her California home to foreclosure recently and said the money would have made a difference.

I hope CBS do the right thing here and spread some of the gravy round.

Dahnlor
04-19-2011, 02:19 PM
I also notice that Ron Howard isn't one of the plaintiffs. But then again, he's probably got more money than everyone else in the cast combined.

Mahaloth
04-19-2011, 02:21 PM
I also notice that Ron Howard isn't one of the plaintiffs. But then again, he's probably got more money than everyone else in the cast combined.

Along with Henry Winkler, anyway.

kaylasdad99
04-19-2011, 03:27 PM
Bu - bu - but why CBS? The show aired on ABC.

ETA: :confused:

Sampiro
04-19-2011, 03:38 PM
Sad to see that Marion has fallen on hard times.


I think that's a misprint. Erin Moran lost her home to foreclosure last year- it was written about a lot at the time- and I think they mixed up her and Marion Ross.

ETA: In this (http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/19/news/companies/happy_days_fraud_claim/)it's definitely attributed to Moran. And if her reality show appearances are any indication, Girl is seriously Interrupted.

campp
04-19-2011, 03:38 PM
I think CBS owns it now. Not sure how that works.

fiddlesticks
04-19-2011, 03:47 PM
Marion Ross had pretty steady post Happy Days work, so if she's broke-broke I'd be surprised. But Erin Moran has not so much post-Love Boat.

Sampiro
04-19-2011, 04:01 PM
But Erin Moran has not so much post-Love Boat.

Almost none that isn't reality show or with other HD alum.

Celebrity Fit Camp is apparently a stage in the celebrity foreclosure process: Screech, Willie Aames and Erin Moran all had them and that was just one season.

aceplace57
04-19-2011, 04:09 PM
I realize a contract has to be honored.

But, the idea of actors cashing in thirty years later bugs me. They were highly paid when they were actually working. Now they get more.

Hey!! Maybe I should demand that my old bosses fork over money for those computer programs I wrote 15 years ago. I know some are still being used.

How about the contractor that built the houses in my neighborhood 40 years ago. Maybe he should get $$$ every time one of these houses resells. I bet the plumber that installed these pipes needs money too. Let's give him some $$$$.

Actors and athletes. How did they get on this gravy train??? They are paid obscene amounts of money compared to people that really matter like doctors, teachers, farmers etc.

billfish678
04-19-2011, 04:16 PM
I realize a contract has to be honored.

But, the idea of actors cashing in thirty years later bugs me. They were highly paid when they were actually working. Now they get more.
.

I think here lies your problem.

Some of the big time folks (at the time) get big time money. But plenty don't, or not as much as you think, particularly back in those days. And for all those "big time folks", there are plenty of second and third level actors that don't get shit. Their only hope for a decent retirement is to get some long term residuals. So, I suspect the mechanism designed to help the peons also helps the big name folks to some extent as well.

Just my guess mind you.

maggenpye
04-19-2011, 04:24 PM
The casino story suggests that their images are being used without their permission or any payment.they are claiming that CBS has deprived them of much-needed money the network made from the merchandising bonanza It's not the residuals or that they were underpaid at the time, it's that CBS continues to use these characters in money making ventures without giving the actors a cut of the profits.

Another side of this kind of thing was mentioned in Stephen Fry's latest autobiography where two actors get paid megabucks for using their wildly popular characters in an advertisement - Stephen asked one of the actors if the writers (who created and sustained those wildly popular characters) were happy with their cut of the profits - the actor grew a little edgy and said he'd send them a crate of wine.


ETA: A crate of very good wine.

The Hamster King
04-19-2011, 04:40 PM
How did they get on this gravy train???They have a good union.

Typo Negative
04-19-2011, 05:23 PM
Their only hope for a decent retirement is to get some long term residuals. Yes, but Happy Days spent many years in reruns, and may still be be showing daily in some parts.

I suspect that if they are losing their houses to forclosure, it ain't the networks fault.

Capitaine Zombie
04-19-2011, 05:32 PM
Another side of this kind of thing was mentioned in Stephen Fry's latest autobiography where two actors get paid megabucks for using their wildly popular characters in an advertisement - Stephen asked one of the actors if the writers (who created and sustained those wildly popular characters) were happy with their cut of the profits - the actor grew a little edgy and said he'd send them a crate of wine.


Did he mention any names?

Dewey Finn
04-19-2011, 06:29 PM
Am I the only one who is amazed that Happy Days still makes money in merchandising and licensing?

maggenpye
04-19-2011, 06:45 PM
Did he mention any names?

The Yes Minister leads.

Starving Artist
04-19-2011, 07:38 PM
Sad to see that Marion has fallen on hard times. I read an article earlier today that said it was Erin Moran who'd lost her home. This is borne out by a Google search that turns up lots of references to it. Here's a brief one from TMZ. (http://www.tmz.com/2010/10/09/joanie-cunningham-erin-moran-not-so-happy-days-fonzie-foreclosure-debt-chachi-arcola-scott-baio-mortgage-auction-sunday-monday-happy-days/) Google doesn't turn up anything on Marion Ross having lost her home other than references to today's article, and Wiki has nothing on it either.

kaylasdad99
04-19-2011, 07:47 PM
I realize a contract has to be honored.

But, the idea of actors cashing in thirty years later bugs me. They were highly paid when they were actually working. Now they get more.Yes. It's in the contract.

Hey!! Maybe I should demand that my old bosses fork over money for those computer programs I wrote 15 years ago. I know some are still being used.Was it in your contract? If so, then yes, you should.
How about the contractor that built the houses in my neighborhood 40 years ago. Maybe he should get $$$ every time one of these houses resells. I bet the plumber that installed these pipes needs money too. Let's give him some $$$$.Was that in his contract? If so, then by all means, send him his cut when the house resells.

aldiboronti
04-19-2011, 07:54 PM
I read an article earlier today that said it was Erin Moran who'd lost her home. This is borne out by a Google search that turns up lots of references to it. Here's a brief one from TMZ. (http://www.tmz.com/2010/10/09/joanie-cunningham-erin-moran-not-so-happy-days-fonzie-foreclosure-debt-chachi-arcola-scott-baio-mortgage-auction-sunday-monday-happy-days/) Google doesn't turn up anything on Marion Ross having lost her home other than references to today's article, and Wiki has nothing on it either.

You're right. Here's the CNN report (http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/19/news/companies/happy_days_fraud_claim/index.htm) which is clearly the source of the Daily Mail story in the OP.

In 1999, Moran did receive $692 for merchandising after she said she pressed the studio, which was then Paramount Pictures. In a document sent to Moran, Paramount said she was previously paid $8,229 for merchandising, but Moran told CNN she had not received that money.

Moran declined to discuss details of her current financial situation but confirmed that last year, she lost her California home to foreclosure after attempts to work out a loan modification with her bank failed.

"It definitely could have made a difference," Most said. "I would think so, and right now it could really make a difference because (Moran) is going through a bit of a hard time."

Dewey Finn
04-19-2011, 08:04 PM
I think that's a misprint. Erin Moran lost her home to foreclosure last year- it was written about a lot at the time- and I think they mixed up her and Marion Ross.

ETA: In this (http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/19/news/companies/happy_days_fraud_claim/)it's definitely attributed to Moran. And if her reality show appearances are any indication, Girl is seriously Interrupted.
The other inaccuracy is the caption on the second photo, "Happier Days: The original cast members in the show which ran from 1974 to 1984 but its legacy still lives on today." But the photo is from the later run of the show. It includes Ted McGinley and Scott Baio. I don't think they're from the original cast.

Sampiro
04-19-2011, 11:09 PM
Yes, but Happy Days spent many years in reruns, and may still be be showing daily in some parts.

I suspect that if they are losing their houses to forclosure, it ain't the networks fault.

Plus it's not like there's a law that requires them to ONLY make money from acting. There were documentaries about Dana Plato from Diff'rent Strokes and an interview with the former child star who played the daughter who went upstairs and never came back down on Family Matters in which it was said they HAD to do porn (soft core in Plato's case, hard core in the other one's) just to make ends meet, or that Corey Haim and other former child stars were reduced to beggin, and I remember thinking "Bullshit!" Unless somebody put a gun to their head, and there's no allegation anybody did, they didn't have to do porn or beg: there's no shortage of broke actors and actresses and broke people from all other professions who clearly didn't feel they HAD to do porn- for most it isn't even an option- and neither do most beg. They get jobs outside of the acting field. There's not just more dignity in being a waitress or a hostess, there's more money in it (porn doesn't pay much when you're an up and... ahem... comer, especially for women, and it slashes future earning potential). Or, crazy thought but... how about college? Become a teacher- the fact you're a former child star might even help you land a gig as a drama teacher at some school where you'll have a paycheck, benefits, summers off to try and revive your career, and any money you make from long ago projects can be your vacation money or go into a retirement account. When you haven't worked in your field in years it ain't your field no more and you need to accept that and move on.

zamboniracer
04-20-2011, 01:39 AM
Aside from their contracts, there may be the issue of misappropriation of the likeness. No one can use a picture of you for commercial purposes without your permission AFAIK.

Whether the actors need the money or not is irrelevant.

Miller
04-20-2011, 02:13 AM
I realize a contract has to be honored.

But, the idea of actors cashing in thirty years later bugs me. They were highly paid when they were actually working. Now they get more.

If the network is still making money off the show, why shouldn't the cast? At least the cast was actually involved in creating the show. The network that currently owns Happy Days isn't even the network that originally aired it. Why should anyone there get more money off this property than the people who were in front of the camera?

I mean, if you want to turn this into a debate that copyrights should expire after twenty years or something, fine, but singling out the actors for making pennies on the dollar, as compared to the network, seems backwards.

Little Nemo
04-20-2011, 02:43 AM
But, the idea of actors cashing in thirty years later bugs me. They were highly paid when they were actually working. Now they get more.How much money do you think they were making? I couldn't find the salaries for Moran, Most, Ross and Williams but Henry Winkler was paid $750 an episode.

aceplace57
04-20-2011, 03:07 AM
$750 a week for Fonzie? That must have been the first season when he was only a part-time character. Happy Days was the #1 show for years. I'd guess the major roles easily paid 30 grand an episode. Smaller roles maybe 10 grand? That's just a guess. Happy Days didn't end until what? 1983? By then tv stars were getting good money.

I recall hearing somewhere, that today bit players on a successful series makes a minimum of 2 or 3 grand an episode. I'm pretty sure the major roles get at least 60 grand and up. There was an article about Seinfield. IIRC the total salaries ran over a million an episode for that rather small cast of actors. That's one reason series rarely run more than 5 seasons. The cast salaries makes it almost impossible to keep a show on much longer than that. They keep climbing higher and higher every season a show lasts.

I don't mind the salaries these people make.

My only point was actor, musicians are the only people I know that make residuals. Everyone else in this world busts their ass working for their employer. They get a paycheck, benefits and that's it. As I mentioned earlier, try asking an old boss for compensation twenty years after your job ends. He'll laugh you out of his office.

Sampiro
04-20-2011, 03:19 AM
Henry Winkler was the highest paid actor on television by the final seasons. I remember a blip in TV guide when Ron Howard returned to the show for a single episode that he had to be paid $1 more for the guest appearance because of the terms of his contract which somehow was still in force even though he'd been gone for years, and that was then over $100,000 per episode. (The "$1 more than anyone else" clause is apparently a standard negotiating feature; Paul Reiser had the $1 more than Helen Hunt clause in his contract which is why he earned almost a million dollars per episode for the final season of Mad About You.)

Starving Artist
04-20-2011, 03:45 AM
Yeah, they made lots of money. I remember reading a feature about Anson Williams (Potsie) during the show's run and he had a really nice home in the hills with a beautiful pool and furnishings. It would easily be worth several million these days.

Jim's Son
04-20-2011, 04:27 AM
$750 a week for Fonzie? That must have been the first season when he was only a part-time character. Happy Days was the #1 show for years. I'd guess the major roles easily paid 30 grand an episode. Smaller roles maybe 10 grand? That's just a guess. Happy Days didn't end until what? 1983? By then tv stars were getting good money.

I recall hearing somewhere, that today bit players on a successful series makes a minimum of 2 or 3 grand an episode. I'm pretty sure the major roles get at least 60 grand and up. There was an article about Seinfield. IIRC the total salaries ran over a million an episode for that rather small cast of actors. That's one reason series rarely run more than 5 seasons. The cast salaries makes it almost impossible to keep a show on much longer than that. They keep climbing higher and higher every season a show lasts.

I don't mind the salaries these people make.

My only point was actor, musicians are the only people I know that make residuals. Everyone else in this world busts their ass working for their employer. They get a paycheck, benefits and that's it. As I mentioned earlier, try asking an old boss for compensation twenty years after your job ends. He'll laugh you out of his office.



I don't know about "Happy Days" but on the "Combat" TV show which ran from 1962-1967, in the second season co stars Rick Jason and Vic Morrow got raises to $3,500 a show and in the fifth year it went to $10,000 an episode. Actually Morrow pushed and got the raises and Jason was given them because his contract called to get what Morrow got. There are some comments on the DVDs that it was the stunt men who were the second (third highest) because they would be filmed as American soldiers in the firefights filmed in the morning and then dress as Germans for the afternoon filming. A few years earlier James Garner was making about $1,250 an episode for "Maverick".

I think TV actors were paid a lot less back then. Max Baer Jr has talked about how he made $17,000 a year playing Jethro on "Beverly Hillbillies". I guess nowadays actors and their agents are more savvy about how much a series can make on reruns, home video, merchandising,etc. Plus now you will get residuals on reruns when before the mid70s it was good for only 5 showings at most.

So I can believe the "Happy Days" actors got paid poorly, especially for the first few years with the contracts studios offer and "if you don't like this, there are a lot of actors who will sign".


I remember some business savvy musician, Frank Zappa or Robert Fripp, once advising musicians to always demand an audit of the record company. "Vry often you will find they are under paying what they owe you. You will never find that they are overpaying you".

Little Nemo
04-20-2011, 07:55 AM
I think TV actors were paid a lot less back then. Max Baer Jr has talked about how he made $17,000 a year playing Jethro on "Beverly Hillbillies". I guess nowadays actors and their agents are more savvy about how much a series can make on reruns, home video, merchandising,etc. Plus now you will get residuals on reruns when before the mid70s it was good for only 5 showings at most.Interesting story about The Honeymooners. The four principal cast members were negotiating their contracts. Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, and Joyce Randolph all had experienced entertainment lawyers. But Audrey Meadows used her brothers, who were lawyers but had no experience in show business.

So the lawyers for the first three focused on negotiating to get as high a salary per episode as they could. Meadows' brothers were also trying to get her a good salary but at some point in the negotiation they made an offer to back down on a salary issue for something else - perpetual residuals.

Now this was back in the fifties. Most television shows were broadcast once and never seen again. There were a few rare cases where an episode might be broadcast a second time as a filler during the summer. So the studio thought they were putting one over on Meadows when they agreed to pay her every time an episode of The Honeymooners was broadcast.

Darth Nader
04-20-2011, 09:23 AM
From the CNN article: "Bluetooth headsets"...

Really? Anyone need a Happy Days thing hanging on your head?

Typo Negative
04-20-2011, 10:16 AM
[QUOTE=Jim's Son;13707618]
I think TV actors were paid a lot less back then. Max Baer Jr has talked about how he made $17,000 a year playing Jethro on "Beverly Hillbillies"./QUOTE] It's hard to imagine now, but that was damn good money in the early Sixties.

Sampiro
04-20-2011, 11:56 AM
The actor who played Doc Baker on Little House on the Prairie was very bitter in his last years over how he felt Michael Landon had screwed him and some other actors out of residuals by never making them regulars, only contract players, even though they were in most of the episodes. He said in an interview that he received around $8,000 per year in residuals under SAG requirements for contract players but it would have been many times that for regulars. Of course I don't think he spoke to the issue that $8,000 per year is a lot more than most people get for something they did 30 years ago and that at the time he was making way more than most Americans- basically if you have to be screwed by somebody there are worse ways.

I didn't realize that Al Molinaro is still alive. He's 92. At one point he and Anson Williams were investors in a small chain of "BIG AL's" diners in the midwest based on the diner in HAPPY DAYS, but no idea if they still exist.

Capitaine Zombie
04-20-2011, 11:57 AM
Just checked on Erin Moran's pics. Wow, I would bang here at her age.

elbows
04-20-2011, 11:58 AM
Isn't it really about going back in time to make a better contract?

They didn't know it'd be so big, they didn't know it'd run so long, they didn't realize it'd be merchandized. Huh? They had representation that got them a deal they were happy with at the time. Now they want to change it so it pays more to them, because they overlooked a couple of things? Shouldn't they be suing their legal representation who so failed them?

I don't see how, the people who made/own the show, and have found a way, to continue to profit from it, should have to pay them anything.

If I sell you my good idea, for $100, thinking I'm doing well, and you find a way to make a million off of it, I can't come back and sue you because I'm losing my house.

Lots of actors lost out on unrealized income when syndication was introduced. Their contracts didn't cover it because it hadn't existed before. Newer actors made sure it was included. Sucks to be them, but I don't see a legal leg to stand on.

Should candle makers have sued for loss of income when the electric light came along? No, of course not. Things change, sometimes it's not in a good way, for you. Doesn't mean you can sue someone for it.

JThunder
04-20-2011, 12:02 PM
Isn't it really about going back in time to make a better contract?
Not according to the article in question. The article says that, according to the cast members in question, they aren't getting paid in accordance with the terms in the existing contract.

The Hamster King
04-20-2011, 12:59 PM
My only point was actor, musicians are the only people I know that make residuals. Everyone else in this world busts their ass working for their employer. They get a paycheck, benefits and that's it. As I mentioned earlier, try asking an old boss for compensation twenty years after your job ends. He'll laugh you out of his office.Ever heard of stock options?

Why do you care about the details of someone else's contract? If you want residuals from your job, negotiate for them. And if you don't have the leverage to negotiate for residuals, maybe you need a good union to do the negotiating for you.

It's free enterprise in action. The question isn't "What do actors deserve to get paid?" it's "What level of pay can the actors get written into their contracts?" If the studio didn't want to be paying residuals decades later, they should have thought about that back in the 70's.

Of course the promise of residuals goes hand-in-hand with lower pay up front. "We'll pay you less right now ... but give you the option of making more on the back end if the show turns out to be a hit." The studio, of course, wants it both ways: the lower salaries that were negotiated with the hope of residuals, without actually having to pay the residuals.

lindsaybluth
04-20-2011, 01:02 PM
Should candle makers have sued for loss of income when the electric light came along? No, of course not. Things change, sometimes it's not in a good way, for you. Doesn't mean you can sue someone for it.

Bastiat's famous Candlestick Makers' Petition (http://bastiat.org/en/petition.html).

Zebra
04-20-2011, 01:04 PM
I realize a contract has to be honored.

But, the idea of actors cashing in thirty years later bugs me. They were highly paid when they were actually working. Now they get more.

Hey!! Maybe I should demand that my old bosses fork over money for those computer programs I wrote 15 years ago. I know some are still being used.

How about the contractor that built the houses in my neighborhood 40 years ago. Maybe he should get $$$ every time one of these houses resells. I bet the plumber that installed these pipes needs money too. Let's give him some $$$$.

Actors and athletes. How did they get on this gravy train??? They are paid obscene amounts of money compared to people that really matter like doctors, teachers, farmers etc.


It is not in the house builders contract to get repaid. It is for the actors. Actors and athletes get paid a lot of money, true. But who signs those paychecks? How much money must they have to be able to pay those actors and athletes?

billfish678
04-20-2011, 01:32 PM
Of course the promise of residuals goes hand-in-hand with lower pay up front. "We'll pay you less right now ... but give you the option of making more on the back end if the show turns out to be a hit." The studio, of course, wants it both ways: the lower salaries that were negotiated with the hope of residuals, without actually having to pay the residuals.

While I am one of the first to jump on some atheletes/actors/famous people making obscene amounts of money bandwagon I've always wondered why residuals don't play a bigger part (than I think they do).

If I was making a tv show/series/movie my preference (and I would think the investors preference too) would to be to pay everybody as little as possible with up front money. If everybody works hard and good and we get lucky and strike it big, much mula for everyone. Share the wealth. If not, thats the breaks.

Dr. Rieux
04-20-2011, 01:50 PM
Bu - bu - but why CBS? The show aired on ABC.

ETA: :confused:

CBS now owns Paramount, the studio which originally made the show.

Ironically, this means CBS now owns Star Trek, a show they turned down in favor of Lost in Space.

Little Nemo
04-20-2011, 02:33 PM
My only point was actor, musicians are the only people I know that make residuals. Everyone else in this world busts their ass working for their employer.Obviously this isn't true. The whole point of this thread is that there are some business executives somewhere who are collecting money from a television show made thirty years ago. A television show they had nothing to do with making.

Zebra
04-20-2011, 03:22 PM
My only point was actor, musicians are the only people I know that make residuals. Everyone else in this world busts their ass working for their employer. They get a paycheck, benefits and that's it. As I mentioned earlier, try asking an old boss for compensation twenty years after your job ends. He'll laugh you out of his office.

Authors/writers get them too.

A creative work is a unique product. Let's say, you make hammers for a living. A fine profession. I need hammers in my life occasionally and you make good hammers. I buy one from you. Hammers do last a long time and I may even resell your hammer and, no, you don't get any of that. Maybe your hammer will be sold a dozen times. Also I may make something using your hammer and you don't get anything.

Now take an actor on television.

He goes to work and does his job and collects his pay. The nature of the product he makes is that it is ment to be sold many thousand even millions of times. When the product is first being made, (the first season) nobody really knows how successful it will be. So a fair price is very difficult to determine. But if the show takes off, or maybe years later it develops a cult following and maybe foreign distribution goes huge, then, instead of renegotiating it is set up in advance that everyone gets a 'piece of that action' so to speak.

That is fair.

Now if you made a hammer and I built a house with that hammer, do you think it is fair that you get a piece of that? No. There is no reason for that. But those actors, the writers of the show, the people who worked on it are the reason that show is still on television today. They are the reason people would want to play the "Happy Days" Slot machine. And if my image was on that machine. A photo of me, in a character that I, as an actor, created was on the machine, drawing in people to play it, you bet your sweet ass I deserve money for that.

filmore
04-20-2011, 03:23 PM
Obviously this isn't true. The whole point of this thread is that there are some business executives somewhere who are collecting money from a television show made thirty years ago. A television show they had nothing to do with making.

Those executives bought the rights to the show. They paid money to prior owners. Even though they didn't make the show, they purchased the rights to the show so they could license it. Once they purchased the rights they are free to use them to make money. The original cast could have purchased those same rights and then marketed it how ever they wanted.

You never hear the reverse argument--producers demanding money from stars who's careers they launched. Shouldn't the producers of Harry Potter get a continual cut of Daniel Radcliff's future salary since they launched his career? He would be a nobody without Harry Potter. Surely the producers deserve a cut of all the money he ever makes.

alphaboi867
04-20-2011, 03:27 PM
...Now this was back in the fifties. Most television shows were broadcast once and never seen again. There were a few rare cases where an episode might be broadcast a second time as a filler during the summer. So the studio thought they were putting one over on Meadows when they agreed to pay her every time an episode of The Honeymooners was broadcast.

Likewise Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz took a paycut when CBS & Phillip Morris balked at the cost of shooting I Love Lucy on film in LA (as opposed to live in NYC). Ball and Arnaz agreed in exchange for complete ownership rights of the reruns. Guess how that turned out? :D Ball even said something like "We figured we couldn't loose either way,even if we didn't make a dime we'd still have the best home movies in the world!" Arnaz actually pioneered alot of stuff that's been standard for sitcoms ever since (3 camera set-up, live studio audience, reruns).

...My only point was actor, musicians are the only people I know that make residuals. Everyone else in this world busts their ass working for their employer. They get a paycheck, benefits and that's it. As I mentioned earlier, try asking an old boss for compensation twenty years after your job ends. He'll laugh you out of his office.

Writers and directors are also entitled to residuals. It's the same principle as copywrites. Do you also think authors should just get a lump sum from their publisher, followed by nothing no mater how many times their book get's reprinted or turned into a film?

Sampiro
04-20-2011, 03:40 PM
What's surprising to me is what terrible syndication deals many stars had AFTER it was known how lucrative residuals are. The Gilligan's Island crew, for example, which premiered years after I Love Lucy was airing everyday, only got residuals for 7 reruns, and the kids from The Brady Bunch got none after 3 years (the adults did). I'm surprised their agents weren't better informed.

I read an interview with Vicki Lawrence back when Mama's Family was still syndicated in local markets more often than it is now and she said her MF residuals were less than $100 per quarter, which surprised me. Isabel Sanford from The Jeffersons said she used her's to buy a Coke- she was joking of course but apparently they were very puny. Sally Struthers said she sold her's for a lump sum which she sometimes regretted but didn't at the time, and Pernell Roberts said that by not appearing in the final seasons of Bonanza cost him millions in residuals.

Bob Crane and Werner Klemperer from Hogan's Heroes both had escalating residual scales meaning they got more rather than less a percentage after a certain number of years. It didn't benefit Crane since he was killed before his share was larger but it did Klemperer, who essentially retired after his residuals kicked in big time. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman also got major back end deals that earned them more from Odd Couple after it was cancelled than they made while it was on the air.

Burt Reynolds major financial problems back in the 1990s were largely because he'd expected a huge syndication deal for Evening Shade, his mostly forgotten sitcom from the late 80s/early 90s. Due to a legal but controversial maneuver somehow Pat Robertson bought the company with a non-profit company he owned and sold syndication rights to a for-profit company he owned (or vice versa) at a loss which made Reynolds lose out on a ton of money. (Of course the fact he'd earned tens of millions already from his movie career and was broke mitigates any sympathy I might have for him.)

It's apparently an extraordinarily complicated quagmire of entertaintment law and show business and one that includes more than a little Hollywood accounting.

Little Nemo
04-20-2011, 04:07 PM
Those executives bought the rights to the show. They paid money to prior owners. Even though they didn't make the show, they purchased the rights to the show so they could license it. Once they purchased the rights they are free to use them to make money. The original cast could have purchased those same rights and then marketed it how ever they wanted.

You never hear the reverse argument--producers demanding money from stars who's careers they launched. Shouldn't the producers of Harry Potter get a continual cut of Daniel Radcliff's future salary since they launched his career? He would be a nobody without Harry Potter. Surely the producers deserve a cut of all the money he ever makes.But I think it's interesting how often you see people who have no direct stake in a debate argue that the position of the corporate executive is completely reasonable and the position of the other person is completely outrageous. Most of us are not corporate executives. So why do so many people take their side in so many debates? Why do we so often say that the position that benefits the executives is the reasonable position?

Think about this. Where do you hear about arguments like this? I'm assuming none of us heard about it personally from the Happy Days cast members or the CBS executives that are directly involved. We all got our information from second hand sources. And who are those sources? Who's telling you about the argument and presenting what the issues are and what they mean? Is the source unbiased or does it have its own interest in the issue?

Little Nemo
04-20-2011, 04:12 PM
What's surprising to me is what terrible syndication deals many stars had AFTER it was known how lucrative residuals are. The Gilligan's Island crew, for example, which premiered years after I Love Lucy was airing everyday, only got residuals for 7 reruns, and the kids from The Brady Bunch got none after 3 years (the adults did). I'm surprised their agents weren't better informed.I'm sure their agents were aware of the stakes. But what were they going to do about it? Could Bob Denver have realistically threatened not to sign the contract unless he got perpetual residuals? Of course not - they would have just cast a different actor.

And it's the same thing after the series is over. What do you do if you think the studio isn't paying you the residuals you're entitled to? You can't threaten to quit - the show's already done.

The only time an actor has any influence is during the production itself.

Sampiro
04-20-2011, 04:23 PM
I'm sure their agents were aware of the stakes. But what were they going to do about it? Could Bob Denver have realistically threatened not to sign the contract unless he got perpetual residuals? Of course not - they would have just cast a different actor.

And it's the same thing after the series is over. What do you do if you think the studio isn't paying you the residuals you're entitled to? You can't threaten to quit - the show's already done.

The only time an actor has any influence is during the production itself.

Gilligan's Island was a special case. The network HATED it, but it was one of their highest rated shows. The cast members (like Max Baer in the early seasons of Beverly Hillbillies) made more money from personal appearances than they did from the show because they had almost no clout- even when it was cancelled it was getting huge ratings. The other six cast members all had grudges against Tina Louise because she cost them a fortune in personal appearances and commercials from sponsors willing to pay good money for all 7 but not interested in just a few.

maggenpye
04-20-2011, 04:35 PM
You never hear the reverse argument--producers demanding money from stars who's careers they launched. Shouldn't the producers of Harry Potter get a continual cut of Daniel Radcliff's future salary since they launched his career? He would be a nobody without Harry Potter. Surely the producers deserve a cut of all the money he ever makes.

The producers of Harry Potter will have income from direct profits, residuals and marketing. Daniel Radcliffe was a successful child actor (David Copperfield and The Tailor of Panama) before they hired him, it's his agent who is cashing in on the profits of the HP series.

The agent is the one who got Dan the part, he gets the profit. As for launching careers, he could make the alternative argument that it was his performance that ensured the film's success. How many people go see a film because they love that producer? Lucasfilms,? Maybe. Ron Howard? Maybe. Spielberg? Maybe.

Who produced Harry Potter? Without looking up IMDB.

Free market negotiation, it's a game.

Back to the OP, if their contract was bought by CBS, then CBS also took on any contractual obligation to pay the actors for merchandising. That seems to be where things have fallen apart.

tumbleddown
04-20-2011, 10:27 PM
Plus it's not like there's a law that requires them to ONLY make money from acting.
Though there is an issue, especially for those who were on shows in the 60s - 80s, that these former child actors were plagued with two problems: inadequate education which didn't prepare them for college or anything else, and parents who plundered the bank accounts, setting up high standards of living leaving the actors in question holding the bag for mortgages and car payments and who knows what else.

It's hard to go be a bank teller or a hotel clerk (and deal with the endless barage of "aren't you?" or worse "didn't you used to be?") for $10 an hour when you've not even graduated from high school and you've got a million bucks in financial obligations hanging over your head, made in your name (or on your back) when you weren't even of age.

HollyG
04-21-2011, 08:08 PM
New here, found this interesting discussion and wanted to chip in.


Actually Henry Winkler started earning $1,000 per episode (he has mentioned it in some interviews). Erin Moran made $650 per episode (you can find the lawsuit PDF here http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b237176_whats_got_cast_of_happy_days_damn_sad.html which has her original contract as Exhibit A), which makes sense since at the beginning she was only in 1 or 2 scenes.



I still wonder why are they suing now when some of the merchandise was made more than 30 years ago, why didn't they sue earlier? Anson Williams has directed tons of shows and I've seen him a couple of times on QVC selling products; Marion Ross has worked steadily, not big star stuff but work is work. Not sure about how Donny Most is doing.


Re: residuals, I think it depends on the actor's contract; Lisa Whelchel from the "Facts of Life" posted on her Twitter about a few months ago that she received a residual check for 1 dollar.

Sampiro
04-22-2011, 12:19 AM
Re: residuals, I think it depends on the actor's contract; Lisa Whelchel from the "Facts of Life" posted on her Twitter about a few months ago that she received a residual check for 1 dollar.

It's never been that popular in syndication unless it plays overseas some place (like Growing Pains, which is a major hit in China). I don't remember the last time it was shown on any basic cable channels. Not surprising: it wasn't that good the first time and the 80s big hair and fashions make it hopelessly dated.

Zebra
04-22-2011, 04:53 PM
Another thing to note that residuals at one time may have been defined as being rebroadcast. Not home video, not cable, not VHS, not DVD, not Blue Ray and not having a movie made based on your character.

All of these cash in on the original creative work of the individuals. Now there is usually a 'any other medium' clause but not back in those days.

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