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‘Walking Dead’ Producers Score Victory in Profits Suit Against AMC

“The Walking Dead” debuted on AMC in 2010, instantly becoming a massive hit. For almost as long, the cable network has been fighting in court with the show’s creators over how much of the profits it has to share.

Much like the main show itself (which ended in 2022), the original lawsuit is over — but the spinoff litigation is still going strong.

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On Monday, a federal judge denied AMC’s motion to throw out a suit brought by five of the show’s executive producers. The producers — Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Glen Mazzara and Charles Eglee — allege that they were improperly denied their profit participation from the original show and from “Fear the Walking Dead,” the first of six “Walking Dead” spinoffs.

The producers first sued in 2017, several years after “Walking Dead” creator Frank Darabont brought his own profits lawsuit. Darabont, who was fired following the show’s first season, after sending a barrage of expletive laden emails, won a whopping $200 million settlement in 2021.

But after years in court, AMC largely prevailed against the five producers. In a ruling in 2022, a Los Angeles judge found that their contract was standard and they were not entitled to more money.

The producers filed a new lawsuit in November 2022, arguing that the Darabont settlement triggered the “most favored nation” clause in their contracts. Since Darabont was getting a better definition of “modified adjusted gross receipts” under the settlement, the producers argued they were entitled to the same treatment. They argued that they were owed at least $200 million between them.

AMC filed a motion to throw out the lawsuit. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Fernando Aenlle-Rocha denied the motion.

“The court finds Plaintiffs allege sufficient facts to plead they are entitled to the more favorable MAGR computation and definition Defendants provided to Darabont and CAA, pursuant to the MFN provisions of their agreements,” the judge wrote.

AMC has previously accused the producers of engaging in a “money grab.” In a statement on Tuesday, AMC’s attorney, Orin Snyder, said the network will keep fighting.

“These plaintiffs have been in the business of suing AMC since 2017 to rewrite their contracts and extract money they are not owed,” Snyder said. “This is just another round in their litigation crusade. We are confident these claims will also fail.”

Sheldon Eisenberg, who represents the producers, said the ruling recognizes the seriousness of the lawsuit. He added that the producers have appealed the 2022 ruling that threw out most of their original claims, and are awaiting the outcome.

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