AMC’s zombie filled ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead is once again facing leagl troubles as co-creator Robert Kirkman and a handful of series producers are suing the network.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, producers Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Mazzara and David Alpert have filed a suit against the network alleging that they were cheated out of profits that came from the hit series.
The groups complaint that was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court reads: “This case arises from a major entertainment conglomerate’s failure to honor its contractual obligations to the creative people — the ‘talent,’ in industry jargon — behind the wildly successful, and hugely profitable, long-running television series The Walking Dead. The defendant AMC Entities exploited their vertically integrated corporate structure to combine both the production and the exhibition of TWD, which allowed AMC to keep the lion’s share of the series’ enormous profits for itself and not share it with the Plaintiffs, as required by their contracts.”
This of course is not the first time that AMC has had a case filed against them. Former showrunner Frank Darabont, who also helped adapt the series to television originally, was fired in the middle of the second season & sued the network for $280 million in the aftermath, a case that is in the summary judgement phase currently, because he similarly claimed that AMC was not paying him what his contract said he would be paid from the profits.
While that is a blow to the network, Darabont was no longer with the series at the time of his suit. This new suit is much different because all of the producers are still involved with the series and it’s continued success, especially with Kirkman being the co-creator of the hit comic series that the show was born from.
An AMC spokesperson responded to the suit with: “These kinds of lawsuits are fairly common in entertainment and they all have one thing in common — they follow success. Virtually every studio that has had a successful show has been the target of litigation like this, and The Walking Dead has been the No. 1 show on television for five years in a row, so this is no surprise. We have enormous respect and appreciation for these plaintiffs, and we will continue to work with them as partners, even as we vigorously defend against this baseless and predictably opportunistic lawsuit.”
Currently Kirkman, Hurd, Mazzara and Alpert have not named an amount they are seeking from AMC, but that is likely to come very soon. If it approaches anywhere near the amount Darabont is asking for across the four producers or even that amount a piece, it would mean just from these two cases AMC could be looking to be paying out close to a billion dollars or more.