After more than five years of legal wrangling, Chuck Norris has settled a suit against CBS and Sony Pictures alleging he was shortchanged out of at least $30 million in profits for Walker, Texas Ranger.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Monday dismissed the case after both sides agreed to resolve the suit in a settlement. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
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Norris, through his company Top Kick Productions, claimed in a suit filed in 2019 that the companies violated a term in his contract requiring he be paid 23 percent of profits “earned from any, and all, exploitation of Walker,” according to the complaint. He alleged that CBS intentionally marketed and distributed the series in such a way to avoid having to pay him his share of streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) revenue. Specifically, the companies focused less on marketing Walker to television stations and DVD viewers and more on promoting the show on SVOD services, some of which they owned or co-owned, the suit said.
Top Kick claimed that CBS hadn’t included SVOD revenue on profit participation statements since 2004 and refused to turn over Sony’s statements. It also alleged that Sony ignored a lucrative licensing offer from Katz Broadcasting while granting an exclusive license to getTV, which the company owns.
“The institutional system for exploiting Walker and follow-up reporting by CBS is designed to keep Top Kick in the dark, unaware of the precise sources and amounts of revenue at issue, and to prevent Top Kick from knowing the various methods and contractual terms through which the 23 Percent Profit Clause has been diluted, reduced and materially breached,” stated the complaint.
Sony, which the suit said was contractually bound to the same terms as CBS by entering into a licensing agreement to distribute the series, was dropped from the case last year.
Top Kick sued for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
As of 2019, Walker had generated over $692 million in revenue, according to the complaint. The series ran for eight and a half seasons, with more than 200 episodes.
CBS and Sony didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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