Sitcom star Drew Carey is locked in a legal battle with the A&W Restaurants chain over an episode of his hit ABC show that depicted the bespectacled one salivating over a fast-food meal at...(horrors!) rival McDonald's.
Carey signed a six-figure deal with A&W last February to endorse the root-beer-float-and-burger chain. According to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles by the actor, the deal soured in November when a Drew Carey Show episode titled "The High Road to China" aired.
The installment saw Carey's Cleveland-loving character stranded in China. Broke and hungry, Carey literally sings for his supper at a McDonald's in Tiananmen Square. The tune he warbles? A McDonald's jingle.
All these unofficial plugs for the forces of Ronald McDonald apparently did not set well with A&W--even if Big Macs are about the only American-style fast food to be had in China.
After the air date, the chain pulled the plug on its deal with Carey, his lawsuit contends--demanding he repay $450,000, and refusing to fork over an additional $600,000 reputedly due him in the contract.
Carey's suing to get that second installment.
There was no word from the A&W camp Tuesday.
Meanwhile, at McDonald's...All is well. Per usual.