It appears that it isn't just baseball bat-wielding madmen and eye-patched psychopaths that are out for blood when it comes to AMC's The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead may be AMC's flagship show and sitting pretty as the most-watched show on network television, but the latest bout of behind-the-scenes drama could bury our zombie big-hitter like its decomposing walkers.
Several current and former producers have launched their own legal case against the network, with rumored costs of up to $1 billion. No matter how healthy a show's profits are, a case for $1 billion is going to affect even the most lauded of productions. It appears that a slight ratings blip may be the least of #TheWalkingDead's troubles now.
Pistols At Dawn
Dubbed the biggest ever profits case in the history of television, a new legal apocalypse follows in the footsteps of co-creator Frank Darabont's case as he attempts to sue for $280 million. While it was originally just The Shawshank Redemption director who was out on his own in the realm of undead legal limbo, his fight against AMC has now been joined by some major names. #RobertKirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Mazzara, and David Alpert are all tooling up their wire-wrapped baseball bats to take a whack at the network — all we can say is, "Justice for Darabont!"
Darabont has been filing against AMC since 2013 — two years after he was spectacularly ditched as showrunner during Season 2 — so expect the additional case to take quite some time before it reaches the courts. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Kirkman and the other creative "talent" have teamed up amidst claims that AMC reaped the profits of The Walking Dead while they were left in the dark. You can read an excerpt below:
“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.”
Basically, the whole party is arguing that they were paid a minuscule amount compared to the likes of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Better Call Saul, despite TWD consistently ruling the ratings roost.
Your Shot, AMC
While Kirman and co. got the first shot of the crossbow, AMC has responded with their own knife to the gut:
“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.”
Hmmm, labelling the creator of the entire The Walking Dead universe as an opportunist is a particularly dicy choice. Unfortunately, it seems like a Catch-22 for AMC, if the likes of Kirkman and Hurd walk, you effectively have no show to go back to. That being said, THR also highlights that if the case is successful, it not only has the ability to affect The Walking Dead, but the entire AMC network as a whole.
Check out the Season 8 trailer for The Walking Dead below:
What do you think about these lawsuits?
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)