Mo'Nique Sues CBS And Paramount Over Unpaid Royalties

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Premiere Of Universal's "Almost Christmas" - Arrivals
WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Actress / Comedian Mo'Nique attends the premiere of "Almost Christmas" at Regency Village Theatre on November 3, 2016 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Mo'Nique is pursuing unpaid royalties for her breakout TV role.

Mo'Nique has carved an impressive career for herself in film, television, and stand-up comedy. However, her breakout role was inarguably the UPN sitcom The Parkers. The show followed the titular Parker family, primarily comprised of single mother Nikki (Mo'Nique) and college-aged daughter Kimberly (Countess Vaughn).

The Parker ran for five seasons and 110 episodes between 1999 and 2004. Despite a cool critical reception, which was common for Black-led sitcoms at the time, the show was a ratings success. Paramount released The Parkers on DVD in 2014. Following a number of film roles, Mo'Nique hosted The Mo'Nique Show between 2009 and 2011. One 2009 episode served as a reunion for The Parkers. She released a Netflix stand-up special earlier this year.

Mo'Nique Alleges Unpaid Royalties

According to a lawsuit filed this week, Mo'Nique is seeking monetary damages due to what the suit calls an "artificial depression" of the shows' profitability. “While the Series has proven to be a major financial success for its producers and distributors, the series’ talent have not been permitted to share in the fruits of that success,” the lawsuit reads. The suit names CBS, Paramount, and Big Ten Productions as defendants. Additionally, Mo'Nique posted to Instagram, saying, "Today we filed a lawsuit to make sure we are fairly paid money that we are owed for "The Parkers". Actors rely on the good faith of Hollywood companies to honor their profit participation agreements." Profit participation agreements are better known as royalties. Royalties are a recurring amount of money production staff and actors receive for the re-broadcasting of a television show or film.

The suit comes at a pivotal time for the entertainment industry. The Writer's Guild of America (WGA) is currently voting on whether to authorize strike action. If the motion passes, it will be the first major writer's strike since 2007. Part of the WGA's concerns is the way that royalties have been restructured in the era of streaming platforms to keep money away from the creators. In this sense, the WGA's concerns heavily echo Mo'Nique's legal claims against CBS and Paramount. However, CBS and Paramount are yet to respond to the allegations.


About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.