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Judge tosses $71M verdict against NBC Universal over 'Columbo' profits

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A Los Angeles judge has set aside a $71-million jury verdict against NBC Universal over the disbursement of profits from the legendary crime TV drama “Columbo.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Burdge Jr. granted the studio’s motion for a new trial, overturning a March finding in favor of the creators Richard Levinson and William Link.

The court ruled Monday that the jury should have been instructed on the meaning of certain key provisions that determined whether NBC Universal had the right to deduct distribution fees for the 1970s detective series.

The case is the latest win for media companies in so-called profit participation cases, where creators of shows or films claim a greater cut or rights to the spoils from a hit.

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