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Chuck Norris says he has been cheated out of at least $30 million in Walker, Texas Ranger profits.
Norris, through his company Top Kick Productions, on Wednesday sued CBS and Sony Pictures, claiming the companies are engaging in self-dealing and aren’t paying his share of streaming VOD revenue.
Because of the actor’s image and fame at the time the series launched in 1993, CBS agreed to give him 23 percent of the profits from Walker, according to the complaint.
“Chuck Norris’ life, image and brand are among the most positive and patriotic in the United States,” writes attorney Scott Street in the complaint. “Put bluntly, the public loves Chuck Norris, because there are few men left who honor country and family and served others and whose public values and ethics match the actual life that one has chosen to live.”
But Norris now claims he’s being shorted because CBS and Sony are exploiting Walker in ways that allow them to avoid paying his share.
“This 23 percent profit participation has been, and will continue to be, a valuable right, because Walker has been lucrative and popular in syndication, generating over $692 million in revenue to date,” writes Street. “But, on information and belief, as technology improved, the Defendants focused less on marketing Walker to television stations and DVD viewers and more on promoting the show on S-VOD services, some of which they owned or co-owned.”
Norris claims CBS hasn’t included SVOD revenue on profit participation statements sent to Top Kick since 2004 and has refused to share Sony’s statements. He also claims Sony ignored a lucrative licensing offer from Katz Broadcasting so it could grant an exclusive license to its fledgling getTV network.
Top Kick is suing for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
CBS and Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint, which is posted in full below.
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