Steve Scott, vice president and founding partner of American Telecast, defends the company's original agreement with Jackson. At the time Jackson was an unknown makeup artist with a product but with no resources to develop it.
"We could have easily found 40 makeup artists in Hollywood who would have killed to get a deal like the one Victoria Jackson got," he said, adding that American Telecast invested $30 million over three years before the cosmetics brand became solidly profitable. "She cut a very good deal considering what she brought to the table," Scott said.
Los Angeles attorney David Rudich, who represented Jackson during the original negotiations with American Telecast, said Jackson didn't have the commercial punch to dictate stronger terms.
"Victoria Jackson made a deal in an infant industry that increased her income and her bargaining power," he said. "Then, she became dissatisfied with the deal. It was ultimately renegotiated." This, he said, is so common in the entertainment industry it's hardly worth mentioning.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday April 11, 1995 Valley Edition Business Page 2 Zones Desk 4 inches; 115 words Type of Material: Correction
Victoria Jackson--A Feb. 28 article contained several errors about the Victoria Jackson Cosmetics infomercials produced by American Telecast Corp.
During the first two years of their deal, Jackson received $250,000 in payments from American Telecast, not the $3,000 to $8,000 per month that was reported. The story also incorrectly reported Jackson's annual earnings. The year before Jackson renegotiated her contract with American Telecast, she earned more than $500,000.
Jackson also said that in the quarterly statements she received from American Telecast about cosmetics sales that the "profit" figure was zero. In fact, for the December, 1990, quarter, there was a profit shown. Terms of Jackson's new contract also were incorrectly reported. She receives 2.5% of the gross revenues for cosmetic sales.
And Harley Neuman, principal of Neuman & Associates, an Encino accounting firm specializing in entertainment management, agreed that Jackson lacked clout because she was an unknown.
"You usually don't get a good deal when you're a nobody," he said. Still, Neuman thinks Jackson's adviser should have pushed for more.
"If she had had the right advisers, it's never 'take-it-or-leave-it,' " Neuman said. "If they've made an offer, there's always room to move."
Since she renegotiated her contract, Jackson said, there's been little communication between her and American Telecast, and a year ago the company stopped broadcasting her infomercial. American Telecast and Jackson are now talking about shooting a fourth Victoria Jackson Cosmetics infomercial, probably with MacGraw and Hartman.
Under her new agreement with American Telecast, Jackson is prohibited from putting her name on products in any other beauty field. But she recently appeared in an infomercial for a lingerie line. Her next big project is a one-hour syndicated TV daytime talk show, "Victoria," which she hopes will bow in 1996.
No one need pity Jackson. With her new contract, her earnings have increased substantially. And in 1992, she married Bill Guthy, a partner in Guthy-Renker Corp., the infomercial company that produces the infomercials for Victoria Principal's skin care line and Jose Eber hair extensions.
She now lives in a grand estate with tennis courts, a guest house and an enormous pool. But they, Jackson said, gesturing to the opulent surroundings, reflect her husband's business success. "There's no way I could live like this on my own," she said.