Buddy v. Hannah Montana

Posted 8/26/07 by Adge

From E! News Online:

Roundhouse Blow to Hannah Montana

by Joal Ryan
Fri, 24 Aug 2007 05:46:39 PM PDT

What do a cult-favorite 1990s kids' TV show and current tween hit Hannah Montana have in common? According to a new lawsuit, a brain.

Emmy-nominated writer Buddy Sheffield, whose Roundhouse was a sketch comedy standout for Nickelodeon, sued Walt Disney Co. Thursday in Los Angeles, alleging that Disney Channel's top-rated series was lifted from his pitch.

The breach-of-contract complaint alleges that Sheffield tried to sell Disney on a series, Rock and Roland, about a boy who goes to school by day, and, under cover of an alias, rocks the music world by night.

Disney Channel had not commented on the lawsuit as of early Friday.

Sheffield's pitch was delivered and batted away in 2001, the lawsuit says.

Hannah Montana, about a girl who goes to school by day, and under cover of an alias, rocks the music world by night, debuted on Disney Channel in 2006. The series has made a star of Miley Cyrus, who handles Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana duties, created a Dancing with the Stars-worthy celebrity for country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, who plays his real-life daughter's TV father, and launched two hit soundtracks.

Last week, a Hannah Montana airing after the premiere of High School Musical 2 averaged more viewers for a single episode (10.7 million) than any Disney Channel series ever.

Sheffield's lawsuit states Disney could owe him "millions of dollars" in profits and damages.

According to his bio on a Roundhouse fan site, the Easychair Expressway, Sheffield wrote the pilot for In Living Color, the landmark Fox comedy show that launched the careers of people with the last name of Wayans, as well as Jim Carrey. Sheffield shared in three Emmy nominations for writing for the 1990-94 series.

Sheffield went on to cocreate Roundhouse, which ran from 1992 to '94 on Nickelodeon. In 1993, he won a CableACE, the now defunct TV award, for cowriting a song for the series.