Like his Dr. Quincy alter-ego, Jack Klugman is refusing to give up on a case. The 87-year old actor has filed a new lawsuit against Universal Studios regarding profits owed to him for his work on the 1976 TV series, Quincy, M.E..
As you may recall, Klugman sued last year because the studio refused to provide him with a copy of his Quincy, M.E. contract. He finally got it and a copy of the studio’s 1998-2006 accounting statements for the series. Klugman’s now suing once again for breach of contract, declaratory relief, and an accounting.
According to the lawsuit, Klugman didn’t actually sign a deal for the show but Universal executives made an oral agreement with the actor to give him a participant’s share of 25% of all net profits for the program. He was also supposed to receive timely accountings of the TV show’s revenue. While this deal apparently wasn’t put into writing, it is referenced by written correspondence.
Klugman’s new lawsuit asserts that, though Quincy has made more than $240 million, the studio still claims a $66.4 million loss. During 1998-2006, gross receipts totalled $40.8 million while losses were only $16.5 million. Based on this questionable math, the actor is demanding an unspecified amount of money in back profits.
The lawsuit states, “Defendants made huge profits over the years but rendered an accounting statement which exposed that being a profit participant on Quincy, M.E. was something that would never occur under Defendants’ ‘math,’ rather a cruel hoax on the show’s star, Klugman.”
A spokesperson for NBC Universal says that the lawsuit is without merit.
Because of Hollywood studios’ history with strange accounting practices, stars who have profit participation deals typically specify gross profits rather than net. Acording to the studios, some of the most successful movies and series in history are still in the red.
What do you think? Does it sound like Klugman deserves to be compensated or do you believe that the show, which is still seen worldwide and on DVD, has yet to make a profit?