Imagine a restaurant where you might order a Hogan’s Hero or a Brady Brunch. A place where you can scarf down M*A*S*H potatoes at heart-shaped tables in the I Love Lucy room. A TV marketer’s dream? It seems so, but CBS has gone to court to stop David’s Cookies founder David Liederman from opening his upscale Television City eatery in New York. ”This isn’t a battle. It’s a war,” says Liederman, whose celebrity investors include L.A. Law‘s Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry.
At issue is the name Television City. CBS says Liederman cannot use it because it’s a registered trademark identifying the Hollywood studios where such CBS programs as The Young and the Restless and The Carol Burnett Show have been produced. ”It’s a name with national recognition. It’s even on our merchandise,” says CBS executive vice president George Schweitzer. Counters the voluble Liederman, ”CBS is acting like it owns one of three classic trademarks: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Television City.”
Another reason CBS blood may be boiling is that it apparently has been considering opening its own restaurant, near New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater- and now finds that Liederman grabbed a good name. CBS won’t comment.
How U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy settles the squabble, say experts, may hinge on public recognition of the Television City trademark. So Entertainment Weekly surveyed 53 TV junkies lined up for Late Show With David Letterman tickets outside the Sullivan theater. Two linked Television City to CBS; 51 had no clue. Says John Dudley, 18, from Newport News, Va.: ”I think it’s out there in Burbank where Leno does his show.”