'Happy Days' cast sue for share of earnings

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The Independent Online

Cast members of the vintage US comedy series Happy Days have sued CBS television network, alleging that they are not getting a cut of the money made in sales of DVDs, lunch boxes, board games and other merchandise related to the show.

The plaintiffs named in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court include Anson Williams (Potsie), Marion Ross (Mrs Cunningham), Don Most (Ralph Malph), Erin Moran (Joanie) and Patricia Bosley, wife of Tom Bosley (Mr Cunningham), who died last year. Two prominent members of the 1974-84 sitcom – Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz and Ron Howard, who played Richie – are not party to the lawsuit.

The suit alleged that CBS cheated the plaintiffs out of more than $10m from the sale of products featuring their images, including gambling machines, T-shirts, board games, greeting cards and drinking glasses.

The actors claimed their contracts with the show's producer, Paramount Television, which has been folded into CBS, guaranteed 5 per cent of net proceeds from merchandise that used their name, voice or likeness. However, they said CBS has not shown them revenue reports and even told Moran that no money was owed to her.

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