Mo’Nique Sues CBS Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Big Ticket Productions for Unpaid Royalties

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Actress and comedian Mo'Nique has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against CBS Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Big Ticket Productions, claiming unpaid royalties from her sitcom, The Parkers.
The lawsuit alleges that the companies unfairly structured the show's profitability, enabling them to retain millions that would otherwise be due to Mo'Nique and her husband's production company.
Mo'Nique learned about the alleged breach of contract through a similar complaint filed by the writers and creators of The Parkers, and a forensic audit reportedly revealed that the defendants had inequitably structured the series' finances.
The Parkers aired for five seasons from 1999-2004 and has since been syndicated on various networks, including Netflix in 2020.
Mo'Nique's legal action follows a lawsuit against Netflix for "bad faith negotiations," which was settled out of court in 2022. Her stand-up special, My Name is Mo'Nique, premiered on Netflix in April 2023 and is a "reintroduction" to her comedic talents.

After settling a lawsuit with Netflix last year, actress and comedian Mo’Nique has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against CBS Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Big Ticket Productions, claiming unpaid royalties from her sitcom, The Parkers.

Mo’Nique is seeking monetary damages and reimbursement of her legal fees.

Alleged Unfair Structuring of Show’s Profitability

The lawsuit alleges that the companies unfairly structured the show’s profitability, enabling them to retain millions that would otherwise be due to Mo’Nique and husband Sidney Hicks’ production company, Hicks Media.

Despite the series’ financial success, the talent has not been permitted to share in the profits. Mo’Nique had reasonably expected significant contingent compensation from the series’ revenues, given its success and syndication potential.

However, this expectation has not been realized.

Discovery of Alleged Breach of Contract

Mo’Nique learned about the alleged breach of contract through a similar complaint filed by the writers and creators of The Parkers, claiming they were not paid fairly.

A forensic audit of the series’ books and records reportedly revealed that the defendants had inequitably structured the series’ finances to artificially depress its profitability and retain millions that would otherwise be contractually due to Mo’Nique.

The Parkers: A Successful Sitcom

The Parkers, a spin-off of the 1990s show Moesha, centered around a mother-daughter duo attending college together.

The sitcom aired for five seasons from 1999-2004 and has since been syndicated on various networks, most recently Netflix in 2020.

Mo’Nique’s legal action follows a highly publicized lawsuit against Netflix for engaging in “bad faith negotiations” after offering her $500,000 for a comedy special.

Previous Legal Battle with Netflix

Mo’Nique’s legal action follows a highly publicized lawsuit against Netflix for engaging in “bad faith negotiations” after offering her $500,000 for a comedy special.

The parties eventually reached an out-of-court settlement in 2022. Mo’Nique’s stand-up special, My Name is Mo’Nique, premiered on Netflix in April 2023.

Challenging Questionable Industry Practices

David DeRubertis, the attorney representing Mo’Nique in this lawsuit, highlighted that Mo’Nique is not shy about taking on David vs. Goliath battles in Hollywood to challenge questionable practices endemic to the industry.

In a statement, Mo’Nique simply stated, “I just want the contractual compensation that I’ve earned.”

My Name is Mo’Nique: A Reintroduction

The stand-up special, Mo’Nique’s seventh overall and first for Netflix, is hailed as a “reintroduction” to her comedic talents.

Throughout the special, Mo’Nique confidently discusses hard topics and difficult people with humor, sharing her experiences and insights.

Craig Miller

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