Dec 26, 2008

Business - Warner Bros. Sues CBS for $49 Million Over Sitcom

Edvard Pettersson

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. Television unit sued CBS Corp., saying it is owed $49 million from the Charlie Sheen hit comedy “Two and a Half Men.”

A licensing agreement entitles Warner, which produces the show, to additional benefits in the fifth and sixth season, if the show proved to be successful, to recover costs incurred in the first four seasons, according to a complaint filed yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

“CBS has reaped the benefits of the tremendous success of ‘Two and a Half Men’ but wants to deny Warner Bros. the right to its agreed-upon share,” the studio said in the complaint. “It should not be permitted to do so.”

The half-hour situation comedy is currently in its sixth season and is the “crown jewel” of CBS’s Monday night lineup, Warner said. The studio incurred a $61.1 million deficit during the first four seasons as CBS paid less under the licensing agreement than what it cost to produce the show, according to the complaint.

“Wow, I wonder what they got the other networks for Christmas,” CBS spokesman Chris Ender said in an e-mailed statement.

The case is Warner Bros. Television v. CBS Broadcasting, BC404488, Superior Court of California (Los Angeles County).

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