As the litigation between The Walking Dead‘s series creator and first showrunner Frank Darabont against AMC continues, The Hollywood Reporter brings word that another major lawsuit is happening against the network regarding the fan-favorite show. Series producer Gale Anne Hurd, former showrunner Glen Mazzara, producer David Alpert, and creator of the comic Robert Kirkman, have all filed suit against AMC alleging breach of contract, tortious interference and unfair or fraudulent business acts under California business code.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday begins: “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.”
The producers’ complaint not only covers the flagship The Walking Dead but its spin-off Fear the Walking Dead and its very own talk show series The Talking Dead as well. THR estimates the current lawsuit could approach one billion dollars in damages for the plaintiffs, dwarfing Frank Darabont’s lawsuit where he’s asking for $280 million.
In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson from AMC commented: “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 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.”
The Walking Dead is currently set to return October 22 and remains in production on its eighth season. In fact, Hurd and Kirkman continue to work on the series as executive producers. To make things even more complicated for AMC, the network recently purchased Riverwood Studios, where the series films, for over $8 million.