Culture

The Walking Dead sues AMC, alleges creative people were ripped-off

The Walking Dead sues AMC, alleges creative people were ripped-off”

Just days after The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman signed a big deal with Amazon and a week before lawyers for ex-TWD showrunner Frank Darabont and CAA face off with AMC attorneys in NYC, more main creatives for the zombie-apocalypse blockbuster series are taking the cabler to court for big bucks they say they're owned.

The claims are: breach of contract, tortious interference and unfair or fraudulent business acts under California business code.

That lawsuit has been steadily chugging along for years, and as it nears a possible conclusion (arguments for Summary Judgment for both sides are set for the end of August), it is clear that the investigative accounting done as part of Darabont's lawsuit has inspired the other producers to make a similar claim to Darabont, who is seeking almost $300 million dollars in damages from AMC.

The lawsuit from Kirkman, Gale Ann Hurd, Glenn Mazzara, and David Alpert alleges the relationship between AMC Network and AMC Studios has resulted in a much lower licensing fee than the popular series should command, which has greatly affected the share of profits distributed to the four producers. Frank Darabont launched the battle in 2013 when he sued claiming the network was doing some creative accounting to make it look like TV's No. 1 drama among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic was losing money in order to avoid paying back-end profits - and accusing AMC Network of paying AMC Studios a below market per episode license fee.

The quartet claim AMC "exploited their vertically integrated corporate structure" to both produce and broadcast the show while keeping the "lion's share" of "enormous profits" for itself. Due to the connection between the two companies, the Walking Dead's profit participation statement fees are being questioned.

Kirkman himself, the franchise's creator, is guaranteed a 5% profit share by his contract according to THR.

(Left to right) "The Walking Dead" stars Andrew Lincoln and Chandler Riggs arrive on the red carpet at the AMC's "The Walking Dead" Season 6 Fan Premiere Event on October 9, 2015. "If the AMC Entities consent to permitting Hurd, Alpert and Eglee to assert such claims in California, they will dismiss the NY action and add those claims to this action", today's complaint asserts. Fox airs TWD internationally while spin-off Fear The Walking Dead is available on AMC Global.

Hurd and Alpert are expected to file mirror lawsuits in NY due to contractual issues, according to the lawsuit. Virtually every studio that has had a successful show has been a 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".



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