Now in its third season, the MacGyver reboot has CBS in a lawsuit over a 1984 contract. The agreement promises payment for any spin-offs made of the series. However, since terminology has changed over the past thirty years, CBS ignored the statement.
According to Hanzer Holdings and Arlita Inc., who are now “successors in interest” to the original 1985-92 MacGyver series agent Major Talent Agency (MTA), “CBS Studios has refused to make any payments to Plaintiffs or their predecessors in interest.” The lawsuit claimed that MTA and Paramount had a “package commission” agreement with “each series produced under the 1984 Agreement,” and that even though the current series is “referred to by CBS Studios and others variously as a ‘reboot,’ ‘remake’ and/or ‘spinoff’, but it is, in fact, a ‘spinoff series’ as contemplated by the 1984 Agreement.” This means that MTA and Paramount are entitled to receive commission on the reboot series, as it follows under the 1984 agreement.
The lawsuit was brought to court in LA this past Thursday with the plaintiffs represented by attorneys Ronald Nassim, Ariel Neuman and Andrew McTernan. “At the time of the 1984 Agreement, the term ‘spinoff,’ unless further defined, was broadly understood in the industry to mean a television series that is based on, comes out of, or otherwise derives from an earlier television series, including what are referred to today as, among other things, ‘reboots,’ ‘revivals,’ ‘remakes,’ ‘sequels,’ and ‘spin-offs,'” Neuman stated in the complaint. “There is no requirement in the 1984 Agreement that MTA perform any services, or be requested to perform any services, in order to receive the payments.” The attorneys also have made clear that Hanzer and Arlita reached out to CBS before the actual premiere of the MacGyver reboot in September 2016. However, there was no reply and no payments were made. The show was aired without any compensation to the companies.
This is not the first lawsuit CBS has had to deal with this year, and not even the first having to do with the new MacGyver series. Back in October, a stuntman had suffered serious injuries that led to a medically induced coma, an OSHA investigation, and a lawsuit. In fact, the stunt coordinator had been under trial several times before. CBS’s negligence concerning such matters might lead to further repercussions, as well as a possible precedence for future reboots.
You can read the full statement of ‘Hanzer v CBS’ here.