AWOL Star of 'Cuts' Sued by Paramount

Viacom Inc.-owned Paramount Pictures has sued rapper Marques Houston, star of the UPN sitcom "Cuts."

The studio says Houston was obliged to start work today on the show's second season, but opted to do a concert tour instead, in violation of his agreement with the show's producers.

A spinoff of UPN's sitcom "One on One," "Cuts" is set in a barbershop, where co-managers Kevin (Houston) and Tiffany (Shannon Elizabeth) are forever at odds. The program has been modestly successful on Monday nights, where UPN has a block of urban-themed comedies. It is due to move to Thursdays this fall, where UPN is also scheduling a much-talked-about new Chris Rock comedy, "Everybody Hates Chris."

If the Houston situation is not resolved, the network may be forced to make other plans; "Cuts" is set to premiere Sept. 22.

The suit, filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims breach of contract and seeks unspecified damages. Houston could not be reached for comment and an attorney for Paramount did not immediately return a call.

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