A veteran comedy writer and ABC settled his lawsuit alleging the "Hannah Montana" program was his creation and that he was not paid for coming up with the idea for the hit show.
Morris Taylor "Buddy" Sheffield's lawyers filed papers Thursday stating his case against ABC Cable Networks Group, which owns the Disney Channel, had been resolved without the need of a trial, which was scheduled to begin Aug. 26.
The terms of the settlement were not divulged in court papers and the attorneys could not be immediately reached.
Attorneys for ABC Cable Networks Group denied any wrongdoing on the part of their clients.
Sheffield filed his suit last Aug. 23, alleging breach of implied contract, breach of confidence, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
"Hannah Montana" stars Miley Cyrus and is about the double life of a high school student, Miley Stewart, who goes to school during the day and is a famous pop singer at night. Only her close friends and family members know her real identity.
Sheffield is a long-time television writer who worked for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" and "The Dolly Parton Show," and was the lead writer for "In Living Color."
According to the lawsuit, Sheffield pitched an idea for a television series he called "Rock and Roland" to the Disney Channel in 2001.
"The series revolved around a junior high school student who appears to lead an entirely unremarkable life, but is secretly a pop/rock star and the main breadwinner for his family," the suit stated.
Disney Channel officials were at first enthusiastic about the project, but later decided to pass on the idea, the lawsuit stated. However, they took the characters Sheffield created and developed "Hannah Montana," a "blatant copy of `Rock and Roland,"' according to Sheffield's court papers.
While "Hannah Montana" has generated two hit music CDs and lucrative merchandising sales, Disney officials "have not paid a penny to Mr. Sheffield, and have refused to recognize that "Hannah Montana" is his creation, the suit stated.
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