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Don Johnson prevails in "Nash Bridges" lawsuit


Don Johnson arrives with a rose for a musical premiere of "Miami Nights" in Munich November 7, 2007. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Don Johnson arrives with a rose for a musical premiere of "Miami Nights" in Munich November 7, 2007. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California jury on Wednesday awarded actor Don Johnson $23.2 million in profits he said he was owed by the company that produced his hit television cop drama "Nash Bridges."

In a lawsuit filed in February 2009, Johnson, 60, claimed he was a 50 percent owner of the program's copyright and, as a result, was entitled to his fair share of the profits. The producers argued the show was still running a deficit.

Rysher Entertainment LLC, which made the program, said Johnson had already made about $40 million from fees as an actor and producer and was not owed any more money.

"I have waited for more than 10 years for Rysher to recognize me as the co-owner of the 'Nash Bridges' series. It was my idea and I owned the rights in the first place. From the beginning, I have asked only that Rysher honor our contract, and I am so pleased that the jury agreed with me," Johnson said in a statement.

"Nash Bridges" ran on U.S. TV from 1996-2001 and aired about 122 episodes. Johnson's attorneys claimed it generated more than $325 million in revenue, including some $150 million from worldwide syndication.

Johnson's attorney, Mark Holscher of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, said the actor could make as much as $25 million more in the future as "Nash Bridges" still airs in some 45 countries around the world.

The actor, whose biggest TV hit was 1980s-era show "Miami Vice," had sought as much as $105 million from Rysher, but a jury deducted costs for production, distribution and other expenses.

(Editing by Jill Serjeant)

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