Warner Bros is suing CBS for more than $49 million it says it is owed over Two and a Half Men.
The litigation, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles, centers on Warners claim that if the show got picked up for a fifth and sixth season and met certain ratings targets, CBS had agreed to pay the studio a portion of deficits incurred over the first four years, as well as premiums on the license fees for years five and six.
Warners says that was part of the deal made with CBS in 2003 when the sides cut a deal for one season plus a series of three one-year options for the new comedy.
Warners claims in the suit that as the show developed into a breakout hit, the studio racked up deficits totaling more than $61 million for the show’s first four seasons.
It says the license fee was $750,000 per episode in year one, with “modest” gains each following year.
Neither Warner Bros nor CBS would comment.
Men is not only a key player in the relative success this fall of CBS, which just reported year-over-year gains in viewers, but has also launched a successful syndication run.
The lawsuit was first reported by TMZ.com.