Nash Bridges' Don Johnson: The $23 Million Man

Jury awards '90s TV juggernaut $23.2 million in back profits in breach of contract suit filed against production company behind CBS hit

By Gina Serpe Jul 07, 2010 6:50 PMTags
Don JohnsonPaul Fenton-KPA/ZUMAPress.com

Just call him Cash Bridges.

Proving that nobody shortchanges Don Johnson and gets away with it (at least not twice), the once-upon-a-time TV juggernaut today was awarded $23.2 million in back profits for his tenure on Nash Bridges.

Johnson had filed suit against the production company behind the hit, Rysher Entertainment Inc., last year, claiming they stiffed him some $100 million after failing to make good on a contractual stipulation that afforded him half of the show's profits.

The 60-year-old, who helped conceive the hit, retained half of the copyright to the show and, until now, was waiting to collect.

For their part, Rysher argued that they couldn't pony up the profits because there weren't any to split, saying the show, which ended in 2001, was some $75 million in debt. Before today's jury award, Johnson had pocketed a cool $40 million in profits from the prime-time series.

"Rysher is extremely disappointed in today's verdict and will aggressively pursue all legal recourse," attorney Bart H. Williams said in a statement Wednesday.

"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."

UPDATE: Make that the $50 million man. A judge has bumped up Don's award, allowing for an additional $28 million in interest. Not bad.

UPDATE: Strike that. The amount was later slashed to $15 million-plus-interest, but Johnson scored a legal victory on Oct. 1, 2012, when an appellate court upheld the judgment. 

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