‘Battlestar’ Creator’s Lawsuit: Universal Frakked Me Over (Update)

NBC “surprised” by lawsuit from “Knight Rider” and “Battlestar Galactica” producer

Last Updated: July 12, 2011 @ 2:44 PM

The producer of "Knight Rider," "Battlestar Galactica," "Magnum, P.I." and a string of other hits — and the man credited with creating the word "frak" — is suing Universal for millions in profits.

Glen A. Larson's lawsuit says the 1970s and '80s shows Larson created and produced were some of Universal's biggest cash cows, and that Larson was "probably the most successful creator/producer of television shows in Universal's history both in terms of revenue and critical acclaim."

Also read: 'Head of the Class' Creators Sue CAA Over Profits

It says Universal has made hundreds of millions on the shows but underpaid Larson out of the profits. "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," reads one colorful passage of the suit.

The imaginative imagery is fitting for a lawsuit from Larson, credited with basing "Battlestar" partly on Mormon theology and creating the curse word the show and its reboot made famous. He later used some of the "Battlestar" sets for "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," as he was in the midst of one of the most successful string of hits in TV history.

"We are surprised that Mr. Larson has brought this lawsuit," an NBCUniversal spokesan said in response. "Mr. Larson did not conduct any audit or otherwise notify Universal of any claim in
advance of this filing."

The suit contends that Larson cannot yet demand a particular amount from the company because he doesn't know how much money it has withheld. He requests that he be allowed to examine the company's books, and said he never received profit participation statements. He also seeks punitive damages.

The suit, filed by Johnson & Johnson LLP, accuses Universal of fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair business practices. Larson asked for a jury trial.