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Disney Owes Mega-Millions to ‘Millionaire’ Game Show Creator

Disney on the hook for $319 million to game show creator


Walt Disney logoA court has upheld a verdict against Disney (NYSE:DIS) concerning profits from the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Celador International — the London firm that created the hit show — sued Disney and won in 2010, reports the Associated Press. Celador, which filed the original case in 2004, accused the media giant of using “creative accounting” to hide profits from the wildly popular game show.

In the verdict, the jury decided that Disney owed Celador $269.2 million. That was increased to $319 million when the judge ruled that Disney owed another $50 million in interest. The three-judge appeals court, having heard Disney’s appeal of the original verdict, did not find the award excessive.

The show — which originally ran in the U.S. from 1999 to 2002 on Disney-owned ABC — was hosted by Regis Philbin. Philbin would ask contestants a set of increasingly difficult questions. Each successive question could earn the contestant a greater amount of money. The final question — if the contestant made it that far — would be worth $1 million.

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