x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Happy Days stars to sue CBS

Members of the Happy Days cast have launched a lawsuit against the CBS network over misuse of their images.

Cast members from the 1970s and 1980s sitcom Happy Days have launched a $10 million (Dh36.7m) lawsuit against the network CBS for breach of contract regarding the show's merchandising rights.

Marion Ross, Anson Williams, Donnie Most, Erin Moran and the estate of Tom Bosely filed the suit at a Los Angeles court alleging that the network allowed the actors' images to be used as part of casino slot machines without payment. Other co-stars Ron Howard and Henry Winkler are not included in the action. The suit is asking for $10m in damages in addition to legal fees.

"Happy Days epitomizes what is best in America," read the introduction to the lawsuit before describing CBS as epitomising "what is worst in corporate America, exemplifying the worst business practices."

Speaking to CNN, Ross said she only found out about the Happy Days-themed game machines after running into a fan. "It takes a lot to make me angry because so often my expectations are so low," she said.

"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.'"

According to the suit, the actors are contracted to be paid 5 per cent from the net proceedings if a sole image is used, and a 2.5 per cent cut for group images.

CBS released a statement confirming they owe fees to the actors.

"We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue."