NBC Lawsuit Claims Musicians Weren’t Paid for ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’

Jill O'Rourke
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Kelly Clarkson on 'The Kelly Clarkson Show'Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal

The American Federation of Musicians is suing NBC Universal for allegedly failing to pay members of the union who worked on shows such as The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Tonight Show, and Today. Clarkson’s 2021 Christmas special has been singled out for several issues.


Musicians Sue NBC Over Unpaid Work on The Kelly Clarkson Show

“NBC owes musicians probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages,” the AFM’s lawyer Jennifer P. Garner told Rolling Stone. “Unfortunately, whenever AFM attempts to resolve these claims in good faith, NBC denies, disrespects, and drags its feet. Meanwhile, we have musicians who have been waiting more than two years for their paychecks.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Manhattan. It claims that NBC Universal breached a collective bargaining agreement with the union. The suit accuses the company of failing to pay musicians for the use of “backing tracks, incomplete tracks, and pre-recorded material.”

The suit also claims that NBC failed “to pay the leader or single musician premium owed” for The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Tonight Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Today, as well as “at least the minimum scale wages owed to musicians” for The Kelly Clarkson Show and Today.


SEE ALSO: ‘THE KELLY CLARKSON SHOW’ RENEWED THROUGH 2025

The Lawsuit Mentions Clarkson’s Christmas Special

The lawsuit points to Clarkson’s 2021 Christmas special, claiming NBC “failed to pay wage premiums owed for work performed beyond an eight-hour spread and/or for work performed between 12:00 midnight and 8:00 a.m., as required.”

The suit also alleges that NBC failed to pay musicians meal penalties for working more than six hours in a row without a meal break. Heavy reports that there are over 171 contract violations related to The Kelly Clarkson Show between 2019 and 2022 included in the lawsuit.


According to court documents, the union claims NBC owes nearly $40,000 in wage violations, nearly $12,000 for pension violations, and over $2,000 for other violations.

“We will hold NBC fully accountable,” Garner told Rolling Stone.

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