Hawaii Five-O Creator’s Agent Set to Sue CBS Over Reboot

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The agent who represented original Hawaii Five-O creator Leonard Freeman is planning to sue CBS over the rebooted series.

George Litto represented Freeman back in 1966 when he was pitching the show to the network. CBS green lit the series and it ran from 1968 to 1980.

In 1974, Freeman passed away and his wife Rose assumed control of the rights through a trust set up by Litto for a 10 percent commission fee.

Over the years after the cancellation of the original show, CBS and the trust waged legal warfare over who would control the rights to any extension of the franchise. By 1997, the fight had moved to federal court and the Writers’ Guild of America worked on behalf of the trust.

Litto says that at that point he forged an agreement to set up a new company that would split the rights fees of any new Hawaii Five-O

platforms 50-50 with Rose. The new agreement gave him day to day control over the company drawing the fees.

In 1998 an arbiter ruled that Leonard Freeman’s heirs and the old trust maintained control of the show concept, and not the company that Litto set up with Rose.

That ruling shut Litto out of earnings for the franchise and subsequent series reboot discussions. It also allowed CBS to deal exclusively with the trust and set up an agreement for the 2010 reboot of the show.

Rose Freeman died in March of this year, which gave George Litto full control of the company he set up with her to collect Hawaii Five-O rights, but the money instead is going to the heirs and the old trust.

Litto is demanding $10 million in damages, claiming that the trust “confiscated” the money from CBS and excluded him from the agreement with the trust that green lit the new series and created new revenue.

Hawaii Five-O is among the most watched shows on television and pulls in about 12 million viewers a week.

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/