Two groups that claim the CBS update of MacGyver entitles them to payments based on a deal dating from the original series are suing.
The plaintiffs are Hanzer Holdings and Arlita Inc. — both of which are described as “successors in interest” to Major Talent Agency, the packaging agent for the original 1985-92 MacGyver series that was exec produced by Henry Winkler and John Hall.
According to their lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), MTA was a third-party beneficiary of the 1984 deal with CBS Studios’ predecessor in interest, Paramount Television, that spawned the series. That pact included a “package commission” agreement between MTA and Paramount that the suit says covered “each series produced under the 1984 Agreement.”
Fast-forward to February 2016, when CBS Studios announced that it had greenlighted a pilot for the new MacGyver. The suit notes that the project was “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.” The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs contacted CBS Corp to advise it that, as successors to MTA, Hanzer Holdings and Arlita were entitled to a package commission.
With the new series now well into its third season, the companies say that “CBS Studios has refused to make any payments to Plaintiffs or their predecessors in interest.”
Attorneys Ronald Nassim, Ariel Neuman and Andrew McTernan of Bird, Marella Boxer Wolpert in Los Angeles are representing the plaintiff in the suit, which seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.