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Lost in the hoopla of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” trial is another big-money TV dispute playing out in Los Angeles Superior Court. Don Johnson took the stand last week in his battle with Rysher Entertainment over profits from the hit mid-90s CBS show “Nash Bridges.”
The LAT today catches up with a case we’ve been following since it was filed: Johnson, who was a hot commodity in the 90’s, claims he was so hot that he retained half the copyright to “Nash” so he wouldn’t get shortchanged on the success of the show like he did for “Miami Vice” (Rysher owned the other half; remember, this was back in the days just before the networks started owning most of the shows they aired).
Johnson now claims his deal entitles him to millions in unpaid profits from the show. How much is that?
A jury will decide, possibly in the next week or so, but half of “Nash Bridges” could be a pretty hefty check.
Johnson was apparently fairly savvy about showbiz deal terms when he took the stand, throwing around “AGR formula” and “pay or play” (perhaps his attorney Mark Holscher helped out a little). Rysher lead attorney Bart Williams argued “Nash” was an expensive show to produce (in part because Johnson was paid so much), so little profits were left after costs were recouped.
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