Pennsylvania residents may know that “The Walking Dead” has become one of the most widely watched shows on cable television, but they may not be aware that the program’s success has triggered a bitter legal battle between its network, a producer and a leading Hollywood talent agency. In two lawsuits, the agency and producer accuse AMC of using dubious accounting practices to bilk them out of tens of millions of dollars. The network says that the plaintiffs are simply looking for more money because the show became far more popular than they expected.
AMC has made two efforts to put an end to the litigation. In 2013, a judge denied an AMC motion for a summary judgement in their favor when she determined that firing the producer during the filming of the show’s second season did not necessarily end their contractual obligations to him. On April 13, a second judge denied another AMC summary judgement motion. Initial media reports stated that the producer was terminated due to artistic differences, but the network later admitted that the move was made to cut costs.
At stake are millions of dollars in royalties that the producer believes are owed to him. He also accuses AMC of either intentionally or erroneously miscalculating the show’s gross receipts. AMC claims that the breach of contract lawsuits have no merit and were only filed because the producer became unhappy with the compensation deal he negotiated and agreed to.
Attorneys with experience in business disputes may know that cases like this one can drag on for years. This is why they may urge parties considering such an action to do everything they can to reach an amicable agreement at the negotiating table. When settlement discussions are unproductive, attorneys may suggest an alternative to court such as mediation.