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Millioniare could cost Disney

The LA Times takes a closer look at the Hollywood accounting practices and legal contract doctrine that might leave Disney on the hook for millions of dollars when it comes to profits it should have paid out to the creator of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Even more amazing, they manage to use plain English to explain it.

Roman Silberfeld, a lawyer for Celador, said “Millionaire” generated $515 million in revenue from license fees for its run in prime time starring Regis Philbin on ABC and in new episodes starring Meredith Vieira for TV stations over the last eight years, not including $70 million in merchandising revenue.

Over the course of the game show’s three-year network run, “Millionaire” collected nearly $1.8 billion in advertising for ABC, according to research firm Kantar Media.

According to Disney’s accounting, “Millionaire,” now on the air more than a decade, has run a $73-million deficit.

“This is a shell game about millions, maybe billions of dollars, moving money around and keeping it from the parties who are subject to the contract,” Silberfeld said in closing arguments. “What ends up being shared is an empty pot.”

More at the LA Times.