AMC Faces Legal Troubles With Robert Kirkman
AMC has been dealing with some pretty heft lawsuits these days and all of their legal woes revolve around the Robert Kirkman zombie drama, The Walking Dead. The most recent announcement came after Kirkman’s Skybound signed with Amazon.
Robert Kirkman then teamed up with other Walking Dead execs like Glen Mazzara, David Alpert, and Gale Ann Hurd to sue AMC. The lawsuit revolves around AMC’s massive profits and whether or not the creators are getting their fair share.
This isn’t the first time AMC has been sued over The Walking Dead as the original showrunner Frank Darabont sued them over unfair compensation.
Vertical Integration In Television
Forbes writes that the lawsuit is simply the latest of the “vertical integration” that exists in the television business. Essentially, two parties create a television show (the studio and the network) and then there are licensing fees for the talent.
FCC regulations used to enshrine these issues in the 1970s, but Bill Clinton overturned the laws. Now, AMC Studios can produce shows that air on the AMC Network, like The Walking Dead.
However, in the past, it would be a studio and a different network, so there would be more things to negotiate. Basically, “…the lawsuit alleges that the company ended up lowballing the fees, ultimately taking money from the creators’ pockets in the process.”
A Billion Dollar Courtroom Battle
The lawsuit believes that if AMC Studios was negotiating with someone other than AMC Network, the “story would be very different.” AMC, of course, calls the lawsuit biased and disregards the complications.
This is the type of thing that will certainly change future talent projects, but it could also change things for The Walking Dead. Darabont’s original lawsuit asked for a whopping $280 million compensation and it’s nowhere near coming to a close. Kirkman’s lawsuit is essentially just warming up. Damages could be over a billion.
Reports indicate that since the lawsuit is about past wages, it should not have any impact on the future of the show. However, it’s certainly not good news.
Do you think the Robert Kirkman lawsuit will change things for The Walking Dead?