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CBS settles “Happy Days” suit

Cast claimed network didn’t pay them enough in royalties

The days are once again happy for the cast of an old TV favorite. CBS and some of the “Happy Days” cast have settled their dispute over royalty payments from the sale of some of the show’s merchandise.

Several cast members—Anson Williams (Potsie), Marion Ross (Marion), Don Most (Ralph Malph), Erin Moran (Joanie) and the widow of Tom Bosley (Howard)—claimed that although they received royalty payments for “Happy Days” DVDs, they did not receive royalties for their images used on the packaging of those DVDs.

They sued CBS in February 2011 seeking payment for the use of their images. In June a judge denied CBS’s motion for summary judgment, saying the "defendants have not met their initial burden of showing that plaintiffs are not entitled to merchandising royalties for the use of their likeness on DVD sets sold to consumers." 

Last week, the parties entered into settlement talks, and on Friday, they announced they had reached an agreement.

"We have settled our lawsuit with CBS and Paramount. The terms of the settlement are confidential, but we are satisfied with the outcome," Jon Pfeiffer, attorney for the actors, told Reuters. "We will continue to receive all of the merchandising royalties promised to us in our contracts."

In a statement, CBS said that "all contractual obligations will be honored, as we had promised from the beginning."

According to Reuters, the case was closely watched because it could have set a costly precedent for actors’ compensation with regard to their images used on packaging. 

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Cathleen Flahardy

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