Bill Nye, aka the Science Guy, says the Walt Disney Co. and a bunch of its subsidiaries owe him $9 million. He filed a lawsuit Thursday against Disney along with ABC Television, Buena Vista Television, Touchstone Television Productions, Disney Educational Productions, Disney Movie Club, and Buena Vista Home Entertainment alleging that they engaged in "an ongoing, deliberate conspiracy to deceive Mr. Nye and the [other owners of the series], and deprive them of their rightly owed share of the net profits from the [Bill Nye the Science Guy] series and derivative works." Courthouse News has the full details, but basically, Nye and his co-plaintiffs are accusing Disney, et al, of taking steps to "skew the profits calculation in its favor," per Variety, including improperly deducting foreign taxes and in some cases falsifying information entirely.
Nye's show was developed in 1992 for Seattle's PBS affiliate, and the following year, the owners of the show made a deal with Buena Vista Television (now Disney-ABC Domestic Television) to promote and distribute the show while it was also still broadcast on PBS. In exchange, the owners were supposed to get half of Disney's net revenue, of which Nye would then get one third (the suit claims the full amount owed to all plaintiffs is $28 million). But in 2008, Nye got suspicious after getting a check for the year prior and then, months later, being asked to return most of that money due to a mistake the company made in a calculation. Suspicious, Nye started looking into the financial statements over the years, finding many "dubious" things in the process, per the lawsuit. He says royalty payments stopped entirely during the dispute, per CNN. (Read more Bill Nye stories.)