‘The Walking Dead’ producers sue AMC over pay, show’s profits

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Four executive producers of the hit cable series “The Walking Dead” are suing AMC, alleging that they were not paid their fair share of the show’s profits.

In a complaint filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, plaintiffs Robert Kirkman, Glen Mazzara, David Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd and their respective companies alleged that AMC Networks Inc. and its affiliated entities breached agreements related to the popular TV show and its related series “Fear the Walking Dead” and “The Talking Dead.”

The lawsuit alleges that AMC Studios, which owns “The Walking Dead,” and the AMC Network, which airs the show, took an unfair portion of the series’ profits, leaving the producers with less than they were entitled.

“When the production company and the network are part of the same conglomerate … there is a powerful financial incentive to keep the lion’s share of the profit at the network level and not pay a fair-market-value license fee to the production company,” the lawsuit says.

“If AMC Studio and AMC Network were not part of the same conglomerate, the story would be very different,” the lawsuit alleges.

AMC called the suit “baseless and predictably opportunistic.”

For other popular shows — such as “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” — that aired on AMC Network but were produced by independent production companies, AMC negotiated “substantially larger” license fees than those for the first four seasons of “The Walking Dead,” the lawsuit says.

AMC said in a statement that this type of lawsuit comes as “no surprise” based on the success of “The Walking Dead.” The show has been on the air for seven seasons, with its eighth season set to begin in October.

The plaintiffs tried to resolve their issues with the AMC entities before going to court, but those efforts “did not succeed,” according to the complaint.