Madden, Barkley Suing Over Caliendo Dish Net Ad

We’ve known for some time that John Madden despises Frank Caliendo’s ape-job of him. We also knew that Charles Barkley wasn’t too happy with Caliendo’s impersonation of him, which started on the TNT set earlier this NBA season.


CABLEFAX DAILY has a report today that cements the idea that both men disdain Caliendo’s parodies, as “Madden and Barkley reps ‘have threatened imminent legal action’” over Dish Network commercials featuring Caliendo doing impressions of the well-fatted duo.

Dish Network though isn’t backing down (obviously, Frank TV fans - who isn’t?).

In February, the satellite TV company asked the U.S. District Court in Colorado to “declare that its ad campaign featuring parodies” of Madden and Barkley by Caliendo “does not violate trademark or common law rights.


Dish also pleaded that the ads “do not create any likelihood of confusion, or suggest or imply that [Madden] or [Barkley] sponsor or promote Dish Network.

We can’t really understand Madden and Barkley being upset over Caliendo goofing on them. But we do think they have a case here. The intent is to use their likenesses (parody or not) as a vehicle to sell Dish Network subscriptions. And obviously, neither was paid for their *appearances* in the spots.


We’re guessing the Dish Net guys know now that the spots were a bad move, but they likely paid Caliendo an outrageous sum to perform in the ads, not to mention production costs. Thus, they are putting up a modicum of resistance hoping Madden and Barkley will go away. But knowing how much those two dislike Caliendo’s act, we doubt they will any time soon. And goodness knows they’re well-funded.

As an aside, Dish Network has seeded numerous versions of the commercial on YouTube. Smart.