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Hollywood & Crime - Talent Agency Sues Keshia Knight Pulliam For $350,000+ In Unpaid Commissions

by Tambay A. Obenson
March 2, 2012 10:42 AM
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Haven't done a Hollywood & Crime post in a little while. Here's the first of 2012 :)

Keshia Knight Pulliam (remember cute little Rudy from the Cosby Show; she's all grown up now) has been sued by her former talent agency (Green & Associates) for allegedly not paying them their agreed-upon 10% commission from all the work she did on Tyler Perry's House Of Payne.

You know, I didn't even realize she was on that show; then again, I don't watch it.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday, and THR got a copy of it. The agency claims they got the role for Pulliam during the time the represented her from 2007 to 2010 - a term that included her stint on House Of Payne.

She reportedly made between $7,500 and $20,000 per episode, and given that Perry's shows shoot more episodes per season than a standard network series (up to 50 episodes per season), she would have collected a nice chunk of change there, and they want their 10% cut - or, as the filing claims, more than $100,000 in unpaid commissions, and $250,000 in future commissions.

Pulliam fired Green & Associates via email in July 2011, to join rival agency APA - so says the court filing - and they've since beeng trying to get Pulliam to pay up what she owes them, leading up to this lawsuit.

No response from the actress yet.

Let's get ready to rumble...

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  • Zeus | March 2, 2012 12:39 PMReply

    Those numbers are actually very believable. Folks get paid ridiculous money to act in these shows and remember, Keisha still has the "former Cosby kid" label to get that extra $$$ in her contract.

  • Jug | March 2, 2012 4:00 PM

    @TOEXPLAIN-And that was almost a decade ago. I should've said NOW, because you could also say Kelsey Grammer on FRASIER who was getting a mil an ep. Ray Romano got 1.7-1.8 for the last season of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND & that was a bump up from 800 grand. That was back in the good old days, when everybody was high on the hog LOL The highest paid actor on TV right NOW, I believe, is Mark Harmon. He's pushing a little over 500 grand an ep but he's also an exec producer on NCIS & so his total is much higher than just "acting". Charlie, yeah he might have gotten a Mil per ep, but he OWED Warner Bros 10 Mil that he borrowed from them. Dude was in the hole. So he really wasn't "making" that much was he? Not to mention, much of his money was from profit participation towards the end, which few are getting now except for people like Hugh Laurie (see 4oo grand above) & Harmon.

  • toexplain | March 2, 2012 2:49 PM

    At the end of its run. The cast of friends were each earning 1M per episode pushing them into the 20M a year category. Charlie Sheen was making between 1 -2M an episode putting him near that level also

  • Jug | March 2, 2012 2:43 PM

    I can guarantee there is NO lead of ANY show that gets $20 Mil a season-strictly from acting. I'm hoping you are being facetious with that Mark LOL. Now 10-14 Mil (which usually includes overall & producing fees), that is an amount I've seen. But yeah, 7500...Keshia was getting took man LOL.

  • Mark | March 2, 2012 2:11 PM

    $7,500 to $20,000 per episode is not "ridiculous" money when you compare it to network TV leads who might get $20 million a season. ;-)

  • LeonRaymond | March 2, 2012 12:23 PMReply

    Question -do you really think she has worked that much to have amassed that amount of commission's owed. I think she is a real struggling actor, we see only the floss that she wants to get out there to make it look like she is in demand and working a lot but I have not seen her named attached to almost nothing. I am not saying this is right or wrong but asking is she that much in the actor workspace, S&A readers will known much better than I and inform me. Sad to hear cause it is reality of this industry!!

  • Adam Scott Thompson | March 2, 2012 11:01 AMReply

    That's what happens when you swap Obi-Wan Kenobi (Bill Cosby) for Emperor Palpacoon -- er, Palpatine.

  • Akimbo | March 2, 2012 10:57 AMReply

    This is a common story. Actors like to convince themselves that they alone are responsible for booking their jobs, and try to cut their former representatives out of the money they're owed. People, you owe the agents who got*you the series regular role money for the life of the series or until you renegotiate; that doesn't change, no matter where you go from there. * I put the asterisk next to "got" because even if the role was a straight offer, your agents negotiated the terms of the deal (getting you more money, better position in the credits, &various other perks).

  • Akimbo | March 2, 2012 7:02 PM

    Ok, cool. Your first post was not reflective of what you've just said. I did skim the SDB doc when it was first released, but I don't recall them seeking to claim commission on unclosed deals; I do remember the language of the suit being a little...sensitive/dramatic at times, though. The hurt feelings are whatever, but if the agents are owed money, the actor should just pay.

  • Jug | March 2, 2012 3:32 PM

    Akimbo, oh trust I know the lawsuit is not "he/she left us". But it is what precipitates it. And sadly I know all about the deals & paying commissions, I've done it with my former agents LOL (nowhere near the level of funds these cats are talking about. I also have family who had to stay with an agent waaay past their due because he'd have to keep paying them & pay a prospective new agent a "taster's fee" for bringing him on board. It truly sucks. But in relation to the whole deadbeat actor thing, I know of many stars who have had their agencies go after their earnings while they were represented there. What I'm saying is in Keshia's situation, she was already paid on TP's stuff & yes, she needs to pay on that. That practice is crap & actors/directors/writers have been doing that forever. Nobody likes to pay somebody money out of pocket after you've left them, but like a divorce-you owe what you owe. If she indeed stopped paying AFTER she left, that's bush league & she got called on it. In Pine's situation, in addition to commissions on TREK & UNSTOPPABLE, they're also trying to sue for future earnings that he has not been paid for yet. Whether or not they negotiated a deal or not on the Jack Ryan series or on the STAR TREK series, they're trying to stake a claim most assuredly is a large portion of the next decade or so of this guy's life. And are they suing for introduction or closed deal. A lot of Pine's situation sounds like introduction, which might not hold water. And believe you me, you KNOW those deals are about to be renegotiated, not just for more money, but so that SDB is no longer in the mix. And that is a biiig reason of why they're suing him, in addition to whether or not he is no longer paying on jobs he worked while repped there. But all of that is moot because I don't know enough information on either side, for both situations, to say who did what & who is at fault. I'm just saying suing for money not paid to you by said client, is a BIG difference than suing to have a stake in something you know you're about to squeezed out of. We shall see...

  • Akimbo | March 2, 2012 2:59 PM

    No, Jug. They're suing her because AFTER she left the company, she STOPPED paying them commission on the earnings she continued to make from the show. They are entitled to all money she earns from that booking, until she renegotiates her contract with the show. Same with SDB, their argument is that they got Chris Pine that 3-picture deal for the Star Trek series, meaning they would be entitled to commission off of his work on the films. They're not suing because he left, they're suing because he left and stopped paying them the money they are allegedly due. Also, just because you haven't shot a movie yet, doesn't mean you haven't booked it. If he booked any of those projects while still with SDB, he owes them commission on it; they got him the job and did the deal. The pattens are similar because actors do this all the time. The cases are only just now becoming more public, thanks to entertainment blogs.

  • Jug | March 2, 2012 12:19 PM

    And not saying Keshia is the golden goose cuz Greene has many other working & higher revenue clients (Omari Hardwick among them). Just sayin' the patterns are similar :-D

  • Jug | March 2, 2012 12:07 PM

    Okay, let's slooooow down. While it's true, actors often like to take credit for their own success, this lawsuit is fishy. You're going to wait to sue her AFTER she's left you? You say you secured the gig for her in 2007, and ALLLL that time she didn't pay you commission? And you didn't get after her then? COME ON SON?! If she paid some & owes them more, that's one thing. Just like old boy from STARGATE ATLANTIS. But this, this sounds like the crap with Chris Pine & his former agency SDB. They're suing because he finally left in Dec after being with them for 8 years, when he did BOTTLE SHOCK, STAR TREK & UNSTOPPABLE. They're saying he owes them commission on STAR TREK 2, THIS MEANS WAR & WELCOME TO PEOPLE and some 25 projects that HAVE NOT HAPPENED YET. Well, the big thing is, you can sue all you like but you have no standing on gigs that have not happened yet. Sorry, but I can't sue with legitimate standing on something that isn't real. He had not started work on STAR TREK 2, regardless of what may have been negotiated in his first deal. And the other deals, like the Jack Ryan reboots at Paramount are in limbo or dead. If his new reps started renegotiation for TREK 2 & however many sequels there will be, whic I'm sure they will now that he's a star, SDB has to eat it. They're trying to put it on front street to get whatever they can get & yeah, they're salty. He was their top star and a Hollywood rarity-a Huge Star at a small shop. And yeah, he left-probably because he wants to write, produce & direct. And while SDB is a strong boutique agency, they cannot provide those resources. They're strictly for actors. Same thing with Greene & Assoc. If you're just looking to act-they're the best! If you want to get into directing, publishing, large scale marketing & the like-you have to leave. Sorry but thems the breaks. I'm reserving judgement on this & the Pine story till I hear more, because right now it sounds like somebody's pissy that a golden goose flew the coop!

  • geo | March 2, 2012 11:37 AM

    I agree, it's like actors forget about loyalty and respect after they see a little fame.

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