The show is long gone but the sequel to Don Johnson’s successful multi-million dollar Nash Bridges lawsuit lives on. Today an LA Superior Court judge tossed a motion by Cox Media to kill the complaint for over $48 million that their former subsidiary Rysher Entertainment first filed last summer. Judge Mel Red Recana’s ruling means the suit by Rysher, its present owners Qualia Capital and its past owners Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s 2929 Entertainment will likely see the parties fight further in front of a jury over who is really responsible for the $19 million that Johnson was finally paid in February last year. In response filings to the August 2013 complaint, Cox said that any responsibility they had ended in 2006, five years after they sold off Rysher. The judge today didn’t agree, obviously.
In 2010, Johnson was awarded 50% of the Nash Bridges copyright which entitled him to syndication rights on the series, which ran from 1996-2001 on CBS. Johnson had sued Rysher, 2929 Entertainment and Qualia Capital in 2009 for not living up to the contract he had with them on the series. Over the years following, the parties fought over the award, which at one point went up to $50 million and then down to $15 million before a settlement was reached. With Johnson now paid off and out of the immediate way, Rysher and the other … Read More »
UPDATE, 12:45 PM: El Rey just officially announced the production start and main cast of From Dusk Till Dawn. Also joining the series as a recurring is Don Johnson who will take on the role of Sheriff Earl McGraw, played by Michael Parks in the movie.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 10:15 AM: DJ Cotrona, Zane Holtz and Jesse Garcia are set to star in English-language network El Rey’s first original series, the 10-episode From Dusk Til Dawn, based on the cult horror movie by El Rey’s Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Like the movie, the El Rey/FactoryMade-produced series centers on career criminal Seth Gecko (Cotrona) and his older, seriously unstable brother Richie (Holtz). The roles were played in the film by George Clooney and Tarantino, respectively. Garcia plays Freddie, a new character created for the series — a Texas Ranger who sets out in pursuit of the infamous Gecko brothers. Rodriguez wrote and is directing the first two episodes. He is exec producing with Carlos Coto, who serves as showrunner, and El Rey’s John Fogelman and Christina Patwa. Filming has started this week in Austin. Holtz, repped by Gersh, 3 Arts and SMGSB, just wrapped indie Seven Minutes. Garcia is with TalentWorks, Evolution and Mark Wetzstein. Read More »
Don Johnson may have walked away with $19 million but the legal squabble over Nash Bridges continues. Today Rysher Entertainment, its present owners Qualia Capital and its past owners Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s 2929 Entertainment filed a complaint in LA Superior Court seeking indemnification and at least $48 million from Cox Media over the money they paid the actor earlier this year. In their complaint for contractual indemnity and declaratory relief (read it here), the plaintiffs claim that when the Atlanta-based media conglomerate sold Rysher and the rights to the San Francisco-based cop series to 2929 affiliates in November 2001 it told the company that the rights to Nash Bridges also included $191 million in “unrecouped production expenses.” Cox allegedly also conveyed to the buyer that no “copyright claim would entitle any third party to revenues from Nash Bridges until the gross receipts from the show exceeded the allowable deductions,” says the 11-page filing.
What the plaintiffs say they didn’t know is that Cox had written down $71.4 million in production costs before the sale. The very non-deductible production costs that a 2010 jury in Johnson’s 2009 lawsuit used in part to determine the profits that Nash Bridges made. Awarded $23.2 million by the jury in 2010, Don Johnson Productions, which was a producer … Read More »
Looks like Don Johnson has finally been paid from the profits of Nash Bridges — something for which he has been fighting since 2010. Defendants Rysher Entertainment paid Johnson $19 million last month to finally settle things — short of the $50 million a jury gave him in 2010 but more than the $15 million a panel of judges decided last October. As a January 30 court filing (read it here) from his lawyer reveals, the actor is satisfied with the money and the outcome. The settlement ends the 2 1/2-year legal battle between Johnson and the production company and stops the case from dragging out further with appeals to the California Supreme Court. Read More »
The former Miami Vice star will still be getting money from the profits of Nash Bridges, just not the $50 million he was awarded over two years ago. “We have affirmed the $15 million damage award plus 10 percent interest on that sum from July 12, 2010,” wrote judge P.J. Turner today (read the ruling here). A three judge 2nd District Court of Appeal found 2-1 in the actor’s favor over Rysher Entertainment, the production company behind the show. Starring Johnson in the title role, Nash Bridges ran from 1996 to 2001 on CBS. In 2010, Johnson was awarded 50% of Nash Bridges copyright, entitling him to syndication rights on the series, after he sued Rysher, the production company’s past owners 2929 Entertainment and current owners Qualia Capital for not living up to the contract he had with them on the show. As well the actor was awarded $23.2 million plus interest as a verdict. It’s that financial verdict that was at the heart of today’s ruling. That $23.2 million figure was determined by the jury in the 2010 case, who added $8.2 million in interest from 2001 to 2010 to the $15 million already established Johnson would be awarded. The judge added further interest of $27 after the two-week 2010 trial bringing Johnson’s total to over $50 million. Rysher attempted to use this initiative on the jury’s part and the judge to claim juror misconduct and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Don Johnson, getting him at a time when he is poised for a big resurgence. Johnson had the Comic-Con crowd in the palm of his hand during Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained panel, when he explained that the inspiration for the Southern drawl of his Big Daddy plantation owner character was Foghorn Leghorn. Johnson has a big role in that film, and most recently starred in five episodes of HBO’s Eastbound And Down, and for his work in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete. Johnson, who most recently had been at Gersh (which did a damn good job), continues to be managed by Untitled and lawyered by Bill Sobel.
Related: ‘Django Unchained’ A ‘Shaft’ Prequel? So Says Quentin Tarantino: Comic-Con
EXCLUSIVE: HBO is reteaming with Temple Grandin scribe W. Merritt Johnson, this time on the series side. The pay cable network has in the hopper a dark comedy project written by Merritt, which is being developed as a starring vehicle for Don Johnson. Johnson is executive producing the project with his manager Jason Weinberg and Merritt. The dark comedy, based on an idea from Merritt and Chris Carmona, who will serve as supervising producer, centers on a suicidal game show host, the role earmarked for Johnson, who is trying to avoid the downward spiral of his life while dealing with the headache of his family and work life. The project expands Don Johnson’s relationship with HBO where he has been recurring on the off-beat comedy series Eastbound & Down. The Gersh-repped actor did 2 episodes last year and will return in the upcoming third season to reprise his role as Eduardo Sanchez. In addition to the HBO comedy, Merritt Johnson has a drama in the works at Showtime about the Ball LGBT subculture, which he is writing as well as executive producing with Lee Daniels, who is attached to direct. Merritt Johnson, repped by CAA and Leverage, previously worked on the HBO half-hour drama In Treatment.
Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino has offered the role of wealthy plantation owner Spencer Bennett to Don Johnson, and they are negotiating for Johnson to join a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell. The picture shoots this fall with The Weinstein Company distributing domestically and Sony foreign. Tarantino is always good for a surprise or two when he goes beyond the obvious casting lists and taps talent from his memory banks, something he has done with the likes of John Travolta and the late David Carradine. Putting the former Miami Vice and Nash Bridges star into a villainous role here seems inspired. The liberated slave Django (Foxx) and his bounty hunter partner (Waltz) meet the evil plantation owner in pursuit of a bounty, and he turns the table on them. Tarantino has been talking to Johnson some time about the role. Johnson most recently played a character called Miles Deep in the recent comedy Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, but soon his most recent credit will be a big Tarantino film.
Part of a series that takes an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.
Maybe it’s the Tom Selleck/Kathy Bates effect, but the broadcast networks seem more open than ever to shows fronted by older leads this pilot season. Until recently, actors in their 60s and late 50s were relegated to supporting parts as parents or grandparents of TV shows’ main characters. Now they’re the main attraction. Michael Patrick King’s NBC drama pilot A Mann’s World stars 62-year-old Don Johnson. CBS’ pilot The Doctor is toplined by 61-year-old Christine Lahti. ABC has an untitled comedy pilot written for and starring 57-year-old Tim Allen. And ABC’s drama pilot Grace is headlined by 55-year-old Eric Roberts.
The trend started last year with several pilots going older with their leads than the characters had been originally written. Blue Bloods (then Reagan’s Law) whose lead was supposed to be 50-59 year-old, cast 66-year-old Tom Selleck. David E. Kelley’s Harry’s Law (then Kindreds) was written for a male lead aged 53-57. It ended up casting 62-year-old Oscar winner Kathy Bates and tweaking the character. The most dramatic “aging up” in the casting process happened on the ABC procedural Body of Proof (then Body of Evidence) whose lead Megan was conceived as 35-40 years-old. The producers met several actresses in that age range before they thought of Dana Delany (55) who was eventually cast in the role. Additionally, CBS last summer … Read More »
Former Miami Vice star Don Johnson is returning to NBC. After lengthy negotiations, Johnson just closed a deal to star in the network’s drama pilot from Michael Patrick King A Mann’s World. In the vein of Shampoo, the project, from Warner Bros. TV, centers on Allan Mann (Johnson), a 50something handsome and sexy straight Beverly Hills hairdresser who is struggling to stay young and relevant in a place where looks are everything. Not ready to give up his passion for what he does, he rolls the dice and risks it all to expand his beauty empire by purchasing the building next door to his salon to transform into a day spa. Johnson was the an early choice for the role and the first to get an offer for it.
Nash Bridges alum Johnson’s most recent regular TV gig was on the WB series Just Legal. Last year, the actor, repped by Gersh and Untitled, co-starred in the ABC pilot Southern Discomfort, did an arc on HBO’s Eastbound & Down and appeared in the movies Machete and When In Rome.
Another hey-you-didn’t-pay-me-my-profits lawsuit. This time a Los Angeles jury sided with Don Johnson who was both the star and a producer on the 1990s crime series Nash Bridges. Johnson sued 3 entertainment companies in 2009, claiming he was owed millions in profits from the 1990s crime series by Rysher Entertainment, which contended the show had lost money despite 6 seasons on the air. The jury awarded Johnson $23.2M and determined that Johnson owned half of the copyright of the series. Rysher was bought by Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner from 2001-2006, and then sold to Qualia Capital. Rysher’s attorney, Bart Williams of Munger, Tolles & Olson, reacted: “Rysher is extremely disappointed in today’s verdict and will aggressively pursue all legal recourse. While we respect the jury’s right to their judgment, there are several matters of law that will form the basis of Rysher’s appeal. We are ready to undergo the appeals process and are confident that in the end, today’s outcome will be reversed.”