Mo’Nique Sues Paramount and CBS Over Royalties for The Parkers

Mo’Nique. Photo: Aaron Poole/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Mo’Nique is suing CBS Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Big Ticket Productions over unpaid royalties for her UPN sitcom The Parkers. The Academy Award– and Golden Globe–winning actress and comedian filed the breach-of-contract lawsuit under her production company, Hicks Media, claiming that the defendants CBS and Paramount “artificially depressed” the show’s profitability to “retain millions that would otherwise be contractually due” to herself and the show’s writers.

“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,” says the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, April 13. The show ran for five seasons and 110 episodes from 1999 to 2004, qualifying it for syndication, but the suit argues that Mo’Nique has not received millions in compensation reflecting its success.

In a statement regarding the lawsuit, Mo’Nique said, “I just want the contractual compensation that I’ve earned.”

In 2020, The Parkers was acquired for streaming by Netflix, amidst a racial and gender discrimination lawsuit she filed against the streaming service after they offered her a small fraction of what they paid other comedians of her stature for an hour-long stand-up comedy special in 2017. That case eventually settled, and Mo’Nique’s Netflix special, My Name Is Mo’Nique, premiered on Netflix on April 4 of this year.

In an interview with Vulture earlier this month, Craig Jenkins asked the comedian about the success of The Parkers and whether she felt it was undervalued or not taken seriously, not just by white audiences, but by the industry at large. She said that at the time, it felt “damn good to be No. 1 in a community that looks just like me and says, ‘We love you, we appreciate you, and we’re going to keep tuning in.’ What I can’t allow people to do is devalue it.”

Mo’Nique Sues Paramount, CBS Over Royalties for The Parkers