CBS has reached an out -of-court settlement of a lawsuit filed in April by five Happy Days castmembers over payments for the use of their images in merchandising.
The settlement comes only 10 days before a trial was scheduled to start, with both sides claiming some degree of satisfaction in the outcome. A source has confirmed each of the five castmembers will get about $65,000 in the settlement and will continue to get some future royalties. The source said that, in the end, the licensing money isn’t all that much: about $325,000 for all of them and their lawyer.
The actors who sued are Anson Williams (who played Potsie on the 1974-84 sitcom), Marion Ross (Marion), Don Most (Ralph), Erin Moran (Joanie) and Patricia Bosley, on behalf of the estate of her late husband, Tom Bosley (Howard).
Two of the show’s best-known stars, Ron Howard (Richie) and Henry Winkler (Fonzie), were not part of the lawsuit.
The case originally sought millions of dollars for breach of contract, fraud and other charges related to royalties the actors felt they were owed from years of merchandising and licensing from the hit show. The trigger for the suit was when one of the former cast learned that there were Happy Days slot machines in a casino.
By the time the suit was settled, the issues had been narrowed down to how much the actors were owed under their contract.
The settlement prompted a statement from CBS and Paramount, which said that they “appreciate the Court’s earlier dismissal of the far-reaching claims, which paved the way for an ordinary settlement based on contractual issues.”
However, Jon Pfeiffer, attorney for the actors, issued a statement that expressed their pleasure with the settlement as well: “The terms of the settlement are confidential, but we are satisfied with the outcome. We will continue to receive all of the merchandising royalties promised to us in our contracts.”
More to come.