"Happy Days" Cast Sues CBS, Network Fires Back

Jun 24, 2011, 17:41 by Sarah Long

CBS is firing back at a lawsuit the cast of hit show "Happy Days" filed in April for unpaid merchandising revenue, saying they don't have a case.

Four members of the cast -- Marion Ross, Don Most, Anson Williams and Erin Moran -- as well as the estate of Tom Bosley, claimed they have not been paid for what they are owed in connection with the worldwide sale of "Happy Days" merchandise, CNN reports.

The lawsuit, which is asking for $10 million in damages, claims that CBS "adopted a 'don't ask, don't pay' policy. If you don't ask, then we don't pay," according to CNN.

The actors' contracts stipulate they were supposed to receive 5% of net proceeds, or 2.5% if their images were used as a group, CNN reports.

In a 15-page response to the lawsuit, CBS disputed that it "concealed" its obligation to pay merchandising revenues. Instead, it said the actors "were simply ignorant of, or slept upon their own rights. That cannot serve as a basis for a fraud claim."

The company, which owns the show, added that the case is "a garden-variety breach of contract action, nothing more," according to CNN.

"However, rather than simply seek what they are purportedly owed under their contracts, plaintiffs are attempting to generate a lucrative litigation windfall by riddling their complaint with unsupported and overreaching causes of action" for fraud and breach of good faith.

In interviews with CNN earlier this year, the four cast members said they decided to move forward after discovering "Happy Days" slot machines were popping up in casinos around the country in 2008.

"When these slot machines came out, it was like Barnum and Bailey came to town," Williams told CNN. "We were bombarded with, oh look at these pictures, they'd be all over the country."

The actors said when they couldn't resolve their differences with CBS during mediation earlier this year, they decided to file the suit.

"Happy Days" was originally on the air from 1974 to 1984.