'Hannah Montana' creators sue Disney for profits

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'Hannah Montana' creators sue Disney for profits

Fri Apr 09, 2010 @ 05:05PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Cyrus,miley Two of the creators of Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana" franchise have sued the network for more than $5 million in profits from the show.

In a lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, series co-creators Barry O'Brien and Richard Correll say they've been denied their fair share of the hugely-successful Miley Cyrus series.

O'Brien and Correll created the show with Michael Poryes in 2005. They now say they're owed millions in pre-negotiated percentage-based bonuses based on their backend deals and WGA requirements for writers who receive "created by" credits. The duo claim Disney has denied repeated requests for payment and thwarted attempts to audit profits from the show. 

Correll, a prolific TV director, also claims he was wrongfully terminated from the show and "blackballed" from future directing gigs by Disney.

Disney reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment. UPDATE: A spokesperson says Disney is declining to comment on the suit. 

O'Brien and Correll also are fighting Disney in a WGA arbitration over the studio's obligations to them "under certain provisions of the WGA Agreement with respect to the series," the complaint says. Those issues are not specified, though Correll says he was terminated by Disney after testifying in connection with the arbitration. Correll believes "the real reason for Defendants' termination and blackballing of Correll was Disney's desire to retaliate" against him "for a) seeking compensation owing to Correll" and O'Brien and "b) their testimony against Disney in the WGA Arbitration," according to the complaint. 

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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