The AMC television network has responded to today’s lawsuit from The Walking Dead franchise creator Robert Kirkman and several producers involved in the handling of the zombie apocalypse comic book series’ television adaptation. The statement from AMC calls the lawsuit “baseless and predictably opportunistic.”
The lawsuit was filed by Kirkman, the show’s producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert and former executive producers Glen Mazzara and Charles Eglee. The suit alleges that, through a series of unseemly schemes involving AMC’s vertical integration model, the claimants were denied compensation the entertainment company had previously agreed on. AMC today responded by adamantly denying the lawsuit’s allegations.
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“These kinds of lawsuits are fairly common in entertainment and they all have one thing in common – they follow success,” an AMC spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
AMC’s “enormous respect and appreciation” for Kirkman and the rest of the claimants is likely cold comfort considering how much money is on the line. The case shares numerous similarities with a lawsuit filed by The Walking Dead’s former showrunner Frank Darabont, who made similar claims about AMC shortchanging him back in 2013. Darabont is seeking $280 million in damages, with a hearing fast approaching – August 24.
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The ruling in Darabont’s case could indicate how the new lawsuit will fair in court. It’s important to remember that Darabont is a singular plaintiff demanding a single person’s amount in damages. Kirkman and the rest of the claimants have yet to state a solid figure regarding the damages they are seeking, but, across the five claimants, that amount will almost surely exceed the $280 million Darabont is demanding. It’s entirely possible that, if the court rules against AMC, the network could end up forking over a billion dollars from lawsuits stemming exclusively from The Walking Dead television show.
The Walking Dead has been airing on AMC since 2010. The show is rapidly nearing its 100th episode and the premiere of its eighth season.