A long-running legal battle over profits from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is about to find its final answer.
The Hollywood Reporter Esquire blog notes that a May 26 trial date has been set in the $250 million federal lawsuit brought by UK producer Celador International against the Walt Disney Co., ABC, Buena Vista Television and Valleycrest Prods. over profits from the game show.
Legal teams for both sides were in court on Tuesday for a final pre-trial conference. The jury trial is anticipated to last at least three weeks.
The case, which was filed in 2004, presents a rare open-court Hollywood showdown with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, notes THRE.
The witness list includes Disney chief Bob Iger, former ABC executive Mark Pedowitz and former ABC executive-turned-Millionaire producer Michael Davies. Also scheduled to testify are such dealmakers as Ben Silverman and Greg Lipstone.
Celador claims that ABC and BVT violated a deal to produce and distribute Millionaire in North America by brokering sweetheart deals among themselves that cheated Celador out of millions of dollars in profits.
Celador is also accusing Disney of failing to intervene when ABC kept Millionaire on the air rather than have BVT maximize profits by moving the show to syndication.