Disney hit with $270 million verdict over


A jury in Riverside, CA on Wednesday ordered The Walt Disney Company to pay $270 million in damages to Celador, the production company that created “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Disney immediately said it would appeal.

Celador, a British company, had charged that Disney subsidiaries Buena Vista and ABC colluded to artificially depress the network license for Millionaire, so that there were no profits to share with Celador despite over a billion dollars of ad revenues collected by ABC. Disney officials had claimed during the trial that there was nothing unusual about the accounting and that Celador should blame the agents at William Morris who negotiated the contract.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Celador had received $21 million in executive producer fees from the US version of Millionaire, which has aired for over a decade.