Disney loses $319 million “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” appeal

Celador International, the show’s British creator, claimed that Disney intentionally hid the show’s profits for years

The British creator of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” has a big cash prize coming its way, after a federal appeals court denied The Walt Disney Co.’s efforts to have a $319 million verdict overturned.

Celador International, the production company behind the show, sold Disney the right to air the series on its ABC network, which it did for three seasons beginning in 1999. But even as “Millionaire” rose to the top of the TV ratings, Disney allegedly reported that it was running a $73 million deficit. Celador sued Disney in 2004, claiming that the latter had breached its contract by intentionally hiding the show’s profits.

In 2010, a jury ordered Disney and its syndication company, Buena Vista Television, to pay Celador $269.2 million in network fees and merchandise sales. A judge later added $50 million in interest to that total.

Disney appealed the decision, but a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit denied the company’s request for a new trial, ruling that the original court’s judgment was not excessive and was not based on speculative profit assessments.

Read more at Thomson Reuters.

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