Comicbook.com has reported that The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, along with producers Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Mazzara, and David Alpert have filed a lawsuit against AMC this week. On Monday, the team filed their complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming they have been cheated out of their fair share of profits totaling up to a billion dollars, a figure estimated by the attorneys of former showrunner of The Walking Dead, Frank Darabont.
The plaintiffs have issues with the logistics and intricacies of AMC’s license fees and are using the lawsuit to shed light on the amount AMC Network paid to AMC Studios for the airing rights of The Walking Dead. Kirkman and the producers claim AMC used these imputed license fees to line its own pockets.
“This case arises from a major entertainment conglomerate’s failure to honor its contractual obligations to the creative people…behind the wildly successful, and hugely profitable, long-running television series The Walking Dead,” the plaintiffs’ complaint asserts. “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.”
AMC quickly responded to the producers’ suit with their own official statement. The wording indicates that while there is no doubt conflict between the creatives and AMC, they are still committed to bringing The Walking Dead to the screen. “These kinds of lawsuits are fairly common in entertainment and they all have one thing in common – they follow success,” the statement read. “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.”
The back and forth continued when Kirkman and the producers offered their own response to AMC. “While we disagree with AMC on the merits of our lawsuit, we appreciate its statement that it will continue to work with us as partners on the continued success of The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead and The Talking Dead,” the plaintiffs stated. “We also reaffirm our commitment to continue to make the best programs possible.
This is not the first lawsuit AMC has seen from the minds behind The Walking Dead. Frank Darabont and his agents sued in late 2016 for damages after Darabont was fired as showrunner and disagreed with the amount AMC licensed The Walking Dead to its cable network.
Though The Walking Dead has seen its fair share of behind-the-scenes drama, the show continues to be one of the most popular and memorable series AMC has put forth. The series recently released its first trailer for the upcoming season 8 at this year’s San-Diego Comic Con, which generated great excitement amongst the show’s fan-base. Even with its lawsuits, The Walking Dead doesn’t seem like it’s slowing down anytime soon.
Season 8 of The Walking Dead will premiere October 22 on AMC.