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'Survivor Yell' Singer Sues CBS

The lawsuit alleges that the network and composer didn't pay for distinctive shout.

March 08, 2003|Jeff Leeds | Times Staff Writer

Outwit. Outplay. Out-litigate?

A Los Angeles actor and singer sued Viacom Inc. unit CBS Broadcasting on Friday, saying the network and a composer failed to pay him for recording a distinctive yell and other vocals used in the opening sequence of the "Survivor" TV series.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that composer David Vanacore violated an oral agreement to pay actor Kim Strauss at least "union wages" for recording a demo tape of music later used in the series and network promotions, including the "Survivor yell." CBS and Vanacore are liable, the lawsuit alleges, for misappropriating Strauss' vocals.

A CBS spokeswoman declined to comment. Vanacore could not be reached for comment.

According to the lawsuit, the actor and the composer met while waiting in line with their children to see a mall Santa Claus and exchanged contact information.

Strauss said Vanacore invited him in early 2000 to help record a demo to be submitted to the producers of the series, then still in development. Vanacore told Strauss that the two would make "a lot of money" as partners in creating music for the project, the lawsuit states.

Strauss said Vanacore later informed him that the producers wouldn't pay. At one point, Strauss said, Vanacore sent him a $350 check without explanation.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an accounting of profits earned from exploiting the show's music.

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