Michael Douglas' basic instinct: Take control of his image.
The Wall Street Oscar winner has reached a settlement with two Florida companies he sued for using his star quality sans permission for commercial gain.
So much for that whole "greed is good" stuff.
The agreement was sealed last month as Boca Raton-based Family Television Studios and Paradigm Media Group agreed to stop using Douglas' mug and voice and abide by a permanent injunction. Douglas' lawsuit was formally dismissed on June 27.
The 61-year-old actor filed his complaint in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale back in February, accusing the defendants of deceiving Douglas into thinking he was lending his star power to a non-commercial educational initiative when he agreed to host something called Learning About.
In actuality, the suit asserted, the video was "highly commercial" and Douglas accused producers of misusing his good name to lure corporate sponsors to give money for episodes that never aired on public television.
Douglas was peeved when he found out that the educational program he signed on to had morphed into an infomercial called Simple Living, which hawked such products as Mrs. Field's Cookies, Wells Fargo Banking, TurboTax and other products.
The legal action aimed to stop Family Television Studios and Paradigm's from cashing in on his celebrity; Douglas also sought to recoup more than $75,000 in profits the two companies allegedly made off the enterprise in addition to attorney's fees and court costs.
Alan Burry, a spokesman for Douglas, says that the actor was paid $50,000 for his appearance, much less than the fee he normally would have received for a commercial venture. (Douglas has only appeared in two commercials in the past ten years, lending his voice to a U.S. car commercial and starring in spots for a major European bank that aired in Europe, both of which paid millions.)
Under the terms of the settlement, Family Television Studios and Paradigm are forbidden from ever using Douglas' image and voice again and must return all the original tapes and advertising to Douglas.
Reps for the companies were unavailable for comment.
When he's not busy filing lawsuits, Douglas has been working on a big-screen comeback. While this spring's Secret Service thriller The Sentinel failed to click, Douglas tries again with Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon in the comedy You, Me and Dupree, in theaters July 14. He's also got several films in the pipeline, including the adventure comedy The King of California and Racing the Monsoon, an action-adventure flick that hopes to recapture the swashbuckling spirit of his '80s hit Romancing the Stone.