The Walking Dead may be coming to an endbut like the zombies at its core, its legal troubles never die. Last year, AMC reached a $200 million settlement with producer Frank Darabont after he sued the network over what he believed was “shady accounting” in regards to his profits. That result was in direct contrast to suits filed by other producers on the show for similar dealings which were largely dismissed or rejected by the courts.
Now, with the show’s finale airing later this weeka group of producers on the show—which includes creator Robert Kirkman, David Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd, Charles Eglee, and Glen Mazzara—renewed their previous claims in Los Angeles Superior Court, suing the network for $200 million over breach of contract, according to the Los Angeles Times. This time, the lawsuit directly points to the decision to give Darabont $200 million but nothing.
“On the one hand AMC tells them they are entitled to nothing based on erroneous pre-trial rulings which are subject to appeal, while AMC paid $200 million to Frank Darabont and CAA to avoid a New York jury’s review of the exact same contingent compensation definition ,” the producers’ lawyer, Sheldon Eisenberg, said in a statement to the Times. “Instead of giving Plaintiffs the benefit of the Darabont settlement as required by the express terms of their contracts, AMC’s creative activity these days seems limited to figuring out new ways to mistreat the talent that is responsible for its now past success.”
The lawyer for AMC, Orin Snyder, refutes those claims. “Another lawsuit means another attempt to rewrite their agreements and extract even more than the millions they have already been paid and will be paid in the future, for their profit participation in The Walking Dead,” he said in a statement to the Times. “This is just another crass money grab. We are confident it will fail, as their previous attempts have failed.”
Although the weekly audience for The Walking Dead has dwindled more than the population in the world of the show (something like 20 million a few years ago to closer to two million now), the brand itself is still hugely marketable with more and more shows and projects on the way. So yes, as the AMC lawyer said, the money isn’t going to stop. And yet, you wonder, why was the Darabont suit settled but not this one?
The series finale of The Walking Dead airs this week on AMC. The spinoffs, however, will continue until morale improves. Or AMC pays off all its legal fees.
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