Everyone who grew up in the 90s watched Bill Nye The Science Guy, there is no doubt in my mind. It was essentially required viewing for all of us in school, and even when we weren't in class we would watch it at home.
The fact of the matter was, Bill Nye made science fun and he was such an icon of the decade. Flash forward to 2017, the man is still teaching us about science in his new Netflix show.
The original show was on the air between 1993-1998, but even though it has been off the air for nearly 20 years there is still some controversy about the profits. The show was a half hour series that had 5 seasons and 100 episodes, but we all know it was so much more than that. Bill Nye The Science Guy was educational while still being fun and it really impacted a lot of our lives. But for the business-minded, what all of that really means, is a huge syndication deal and a lot of continuing profits.
I think we can all agree that we all owe a lot to Bill Nye and his Emmy award-winning show. It taught us complicated concepts in easy to learn ways with a host who was fun to watch. That is a lot of factors to manage to balance and the fact that it worked is incredible.
But even though the show was universally loved, that doesn't mean that it is without its controversy. Currently, Bill Nye himself is actually in a large legal battle with the people who made the show!
Bill Nye has filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company claiming that they have been withholding his earnings from the show for years. He is claiming Disney (who is the distributor of the show) has committed a breach of contract and owes him over $9 million.
The lawsuit states that “Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that as a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ breach of fiduciary duty, Plaintiff has suffered damages in the amount of not less than Nine Million Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Five Hundred Sixty dollars (USD$9,350,565.00), the final amount to be proven at trial."
This all started after Disney issued a check for Nye in 2008 for his cut of the syndication profits. The check they sent was for $585k, but a few months later, he received a letter saying that the check was wrong and he was to return $496k due to an accounting error.
Nye was informed that he wouldn't receive any more of his royalty checks until he paid back the amount. His suspicions were raised by the size of this so-called error, so he called for an audit of Disney's books in 2016.
The audit revealed that Nye had been shorted over $9 million since he first signed the contract back in 1993.
The actor has filed a suit claiming that "Plaintiff is further informed and believes and thereon alleges that the Defendants, by breaching their fiduciary duties, enriched themselves, at the expense of the Plaintiff and the BNSG Owners, obtaining ill-gotten profits of not less than Twenty Eight Million Fifty One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety Five dollars (USD$28,051,695.00).”
The lawsuit has just started so we will have to wait and who will win, Bill Nye or Disney.