Lisa Kudrow, ex-manager tangled in $1.7M case over oral agreement


From struggling actress to A-list star, Kudrow helped turn the sitcom "Friends" into a hit. In the final 18 shows, she earned $1 million per episode.

There were no laughs in court on Wednesday. Scott Howard, the actress' former manager who helped launch her career, is suing her for $1.7 million.

The catch for the jury - he and Kudrow never had a written contract - only an oral agreement.

"I always believed that a personal handshake kind of cemented that personal relationship, and that anything more formal felt awkward," Howard said.

The deal ended with a letter. After 16 years together, Kudrow had developed many projects on her own. She wrote that it was time to part ways.

The crux of the case is whether Howard was entitled to his10 percent cut after he was terminated and long after the show ended.

Kudrow continued to get back-end earnings, profits from re-runs. Her position is that Howard deserved nothing further because he was her personal manager, not her agent. According to court documents, Kudrow said that only agents who find work for the talent get post-termination fees.

Howard's attorney Marc Baute disagrees.

"That distinction is poppycock. There is lots of slop and lots of overlap among and between the two. There are managers that find work. There are agents that find work. They work as a team," Baute said.

The defense will highlight Kudrow's post-"Friends" successes, including producing the HBO show "The Comeback," Showtime's "Web Therapy" and guest spots on ABC's "Scandal."

Kudrow's team said they will not make any comment until they are done presenting their case. Kudrow's turn on the stand comes Thursday.

Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.