Back in the 1950s there were the widely publicized TV quiz show scandals, wherein it was learned that certain contestants were cheating to win big jackpots.
Today a Federal jury in Riverside, Calif., said there is another kind of TV quiz show scandal. In this case, the company that licensed the show to the Walt Disney Co. won a major lawsuit against Disney, after claiming the media giant cheated it over its fair share of the profits for the quiz show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
The company that sued Disney, Celador International, was awarded $269.2 million by the jury, the Los Angeles Times’ Company Town blog reported.
Disney had licensed the rights to "Millionaire" from U.K.-based Celador.
In a statement Disney said, according to the article, "We believe this verdict is fundamentally wrong and will aggressively seek to have it reversed."
The article said, "Celador argued that a series of "sweetheart deals" struck between a clutch of Disney-owned companies kept the show in the red, even as it became ABC’s first No. 1 show in more than a decade."
Celador had sued for $395 million in broadcast license fees and $10 million from the sale of "Millionaire"-related merchandise.
The jury awarded Celador $260 in license fees and $9.2 million for the merchadise sales.
Disney’s accounting had the show in the red to the tune of $73 million.
The article said, "The decision strikes at the heart of the "vertical integration" argument that has buttressed the wave of consolidation that has swept Hollywood over the last 20 years, in which media giants contend that it is economically advantageous to control both the production and distribution of TV programming."