Being devoured by the undead is probably the No. 1 most horrible fate, but it just barely edges out the second most horrible fate: not getting that money. In a new lawsuit, The Walking Dead comic creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman joined the series’ other EPs Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Mazzara, and David Alpert in filing breach of contract, tortious interference, and unfair or fraudulent business acts claims against AMC. Fear the Walking Dead and Talking Dead were also named in the suit. In their filings, the four allege the network has leveraged the fact that the show is both produced by its in-house AMC Studios and distributed by AMC Networks to pay itself a reduced licensing fee, which would affect profits, they say, that should be rightfully paid to TWD producers and talent. “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 suit claims. Frank Darabont, the series’ former showrunner, is already embroiled in a similar legal battle with the network, claiming they “grossly reduced” his TWD profits.
AMC, of course, disagrees with the above allegations, and must now balance having a working relationship with the employees of their very, very successful show with their desire to quash any pending litigation. “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 Monday. “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.” On the other hand, maybe being eaten by zombies would be better than hashing all this out in court.