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Bill Nye Files $37 Million Lawsuit Against Disney Over 'Science Guy' Show
Bill Nye filed on Thursday a $37 million lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries, saying the group had kept him out of profits earned by the popular Bill Nye the Science Guy program that ran from 1994 to 1999, reports Deadline. He says that he himself is owed at least $9 million, and that the companies had gained a total of $28 million in "ill-gotten profits," notes Fortune.
The suit claims that a deal struck with the Buena Vista Television (which was owned by Disney and has since been renamed) stipulated that Nye and his partners would receive 50% of net profits generated from the show.
As explained in the suit, Nye first thought that something was amiss when, in 2008, Buena Vista Television issued him a check for $585,123 for his share of profits made that year, only to come back later and say that they'd made an accounting error and needed him to return most of the money, according to Fortune. Nye said in the suit that, “the disturbing size of the supposed ‘accounting error,’ coupled with the seeming indifference of both BVT and WDC, left Nye suspicious of the veracity of the accounting.”
In 2013, Nye would go on to hire an outside auditor to look into the matter. He said that Disney was uncooperative with the investigation, and that the auditors had discovered a number of lost royalties and wrongful deductions. The suit adds that Buena Vista Television, in licensing streaming rights of The Science Guy to Netflix, had wrongly labeled the agreement as the sale of a "Video Device," which a prior contract had defined as the sale of "audio visual cassette, video disc, or any similar device embodying the Series." Under the "Video Device" labeling, the deal paid much less to the show's owners than it would otherwise.
LAist has reached out to the Walt Disney Company, but have not heard back at time of publication.