CBS Sues FamilyNet, ComStar for $1.5M Over ‘Happy Days,’ ‘Family Ties’ and Others

CBS claims that company co-founded by “Hour of Power” preacher Robert Schuller is trying to weasel out of licensing fees

Last Updated: April 20, 2012 @ 3:48 PM

Surely, this is a situation that the Fonz would give a thumbs-down to.

CBS Television Distribution is suing ComStar Media and FamilyNet for allegedly airing several series, including "Happy Days" and "Family Ties," without paying licensing fees for the programs.

Also read: "Happy Days" Lawsuit: Four Actors Say They Were Stiffed on Payments

CBS is seeking more than $1.5 million in the suit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in California.

According to the suit, CBS and FamilyNet entered a licensing agreement in Dec. 2008, to license the series "Happy Days," "Family Ties," "My Three Sons" and "Early Edition," with FamilyNet paying license fees in both a down payment and monthly installments.

Also read: "Happy Days" Dad Tom Bosley Dead at 83

However, the suit says, after ComStar Media — a company owned by GodTube founder Chris Wyatt and "Hour of Power" minister Robert Schuller — acquired FamilyNet, the payments soon stopped coming in.

CBS claims that ComStar made a payment of somewhere over $100,000 in June 2010, but haven't made any installments since then. According to the suit, ComCast says that it isn't obligated to pay the license fees, because they didn't acquire FamilyNet's liabilities when they purchased it.

The suit names FamilyNet, ComStar Media, ComStar Networks, FamilyNet Management – which was set up by ComStar to acquire FamilyNet – and Resolute Media Atlanta.

FamilyNet has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.

Alleging breach of contract and copyright infringement, CBS is seeking damages "at least in the amount of $1,546,880.08," plus court costs, attorney fees, and an injunction against the defendants.

FamilyNet bills itself as "America's trusted entertainment network dedicated to providing responsible, relevant, and entertaining viewing choices for today's diverse family."

ComStar emphasizes that it's a "family based business" on the company's website.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.