AMC's The Walking Dead as you know it may be in trouble.
Rick isn't the only one taking aim on The Walking Dead. Image: AMC
Three of the show's current producers and one former executive producer are suing the network over profits from the hit zombie show. Robert Kirkman, who also created the show; Gale Anne Hurd; David Alpert; and Glen Mazzara are all claiming they haven't been paid their fair share.
This comes after Frank Darabont, a former executive producer on the show, filed a similar lawsuit back in 2013. He feels he's owed almost $US300 million ($382 million). The difference with that suit is that Darabont was no longer working on the show when he filed it. Three of these plaintiffs are still active participants in the creative direction of the show.
The Hollywood Reporter has a very detailed article on the news but basically it boils down to this: The producers feel AMC undersold the rights to the show, but oversold production costs to keep profits artificially low. Each producer has a specific percentage of the profits he or she is supposed to earn, but if someone is lying about how much profit is actually being made, there's an issue.
A lot of the murkiness comes from the fact that AMC broadcasts The Walking Dead and AMC Studios produces The Walking Dead. Two companies, owned by the same company, may be kinder to each other when it comes to selling the show at the rate it is truly worth — which is a lot, considering it's consistently one of the highest rated shows on TV.
The producers are suing for "breach of contract, inducing breaches, and unfair or fraudulent business acts under California business code". AMC released the following statement in response:
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.
So what does this mean right now? Probably not much. Several of the show's big creative names, such as Greg Nicotero and Scott M. Gimple, are not suing their employers. So even if the others decided to leave the show, it's almost certainly going to still continue to air. Plus, just because they're suing doesn't mean they can't work if the network allows them. Either way, it isn't a good thing for anyone involved.
For much more on the lawsuit, including the official court documents, visit the below link.
The eighth season of The Walking Dead continues October 23.