LOS ANGELES (CN) – Hollywood producer Glen Larson, creator of “Six Million Dollar Man” and “Knight Rider,” claims Universal City Studios Productions made hundreds of millions of dollars from his shows while reducing him to the role of “sharecropper.”
Glen Larson Productions claims that though Larson created a number of “cash cows” for the studio, Universal used Hollywood accounting to make sure he never got his fair share.
“Despite having been the engines that fueled the creation and rise of the MCA/Universal dynasty, all of the shows are, according to Universal, in deficit when it comes to profits due to Larson Productions,” the complaint states.
“On the other hand, Universal has made hundreds of millions of dollars on the shows. Indeed, as the shows make more money for Universal, the deficit that Larson Productions must overcome continually increases. It’s Hollywood’s version of being a sharecropper.”
In his Superior Court complaint, Larson says he also helped develop and produce “Magnum P.I.,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Quincy, M.E.,” and other popular shows. Larson Productions seeks recovery of profits it’s owed under agreements dating back to the mid-70s.
“Defendants intentionally and deliberately led Larson Productions to believe that defendants would maintain a proper and fair accounting,” the complaint states. “Defendants were aware that they manipulated the accounting in such a manner that made it impossible for Larson Productions to ever receive contingent compensation from the television shows in the ordinary course of the events.”
Universal’s book-juggling included “charging excessive and improper costs, not timely applying gross receipts such that interest grow uncontrollably, and only accounting for 20 percent of the gross receipts for DVD sales,” according to the complaint.
Now in his seventies, Larson describes himself in his complaint as “probably the most successful creator/producer of television shows in Universal’s history both in terms of revenue and critical acclaim.”
He seeks an accounting, restitution, disgorgement and punitive damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, money due, conversion, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unfair business practices. He is represented by Neville Johnson of Beverly Hills.