Robert Kirkman and More ‘Walking Dead’ Bosses Now Suing AMC Over Profits
It’s easy to chalk up ex-Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont’s legal battles with AMC to growing pains, but it’s something else when all Walking Dead producers turn on the network. AMC has been slapped with lawsuits from Robert Kirkman, Gale Ann Hurd, David Alpert and Glen Mazzara, all alleging similar profit-scheming.
The Hollywood Reporter writes that the creator, executive producers and fellow ex-showrunner Mazzara have filed suit against AMC in a similar vein as Darabont’s $280 million accounting lawsuit. The complaint alleges AMC’s “failure to honor its contractual obligations to the creative people,” as well that they “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.”
Essentially, the lawsuit questions the amount paid by AMC Network to its studio arm for airing rights, particularly weighed against that of less ratings-driven series (from outside studios) like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul or Mad Men. For its part, AMC touted The Walking Dead’s success in downplaying any threat posed by the lawsuits:
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 #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.
Oral hearings are set to begin with Darabont’s Walking Dead case next week, but is the franchise in trouble if the creators take significant settlements from AMC?