Hollywood studios and producers have long been accused of shady accounting methods. Now one of the producers behind the Hanna Montana phenomenon is claiming that the Walt Disney Co. isn't paying him his full royalties.
Michael Poryers, a longtime Hollywood television writer and producer, recently filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Disney, as well as two L.A.-based production companies. The TV veteran is asking for $1 million in unpaid compensation and what could amount to millions of dollars in punitive damages and attorneys' fees.
The complaint filed earlier this month in Los Angeles federal court states that the writer-producer has been cheated out of his royalties for ancillary income generated by the "Hanna Montana" TV series, which he helped to create. The royalties include a percentage of all DVD, video game and merchandising sales.
According to the complaint, Poryers entered into an agreement with production company Bigwood Films Inc. to write the half-hour pilot for "Hanna Montana," the tween television phenomenon starring Miley Cyrus that pulls in nearly 10 million weekly viewers and that he alleges generates "billions" in total revenue for Disney.
Poryers claims Disney took over some of Bigwood's obligations, including royalties amounting to 6 percent of the gross sales of all related Hanna Montana merchandise.
Poryers, an executive producer on the upcoming film, claims that while Disney has paid him an undisclosed amount for royalties, the company has not reported revenues accurately and still owes him at least $900,000.
Attorneys for Poryers and Burbank-based Disney would not comment on the lawsuit.
Bigwood Films Inc., also named as a defendant, could not be reached for comment.
Advertising revenue is down about 3 percent on average nationwide for all media. But CBS Corp.'s radio stations, including KNX-AM (1070) and KFWB-AM (980), have seen a 10 percent drop in advertising and that has led to significant layoffs this month.
Several industry sources said that that CBS executives had asked Roy Laughlin, the new senior vice president and market manager of the L.A. news stations, to cut $1 million in operating costs, resulting in the layoffs of at least two dozen employees.
Revenue is down 9 percent, and operating income down 16 percent to $150.7 million at CBS radio stations across the country, according to the company's third quarter filing with Security and Exchange Commission.
The company said in the filing it plans to sell off some of its outlying radio stations, reducing the total number of stations from 120 to about 90.
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