EXCLUSIVE: After nearly six years, one mini-trial and with another trial set for next month, the profits participation battle between The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and fellow executive producers of the now concluded zombie apocalypse series and AMC has come to an end, kinda.
“The parties have agreed to resolve through confidential arbitration the remaining claims in this lawsuit that were scheduled for a February 2023 trial,” said reps for Kirkman, fellow TWD EPs and AMC to Deadline today after a motion to dismiss was filed in LA Superior Court Monday (read the short motion here).
Which is a succinct way of saying this isn’t over, but going away.
Having said that, causes of action in Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and company’s original 2017 lawsuit that were tossed or struck last year could find new legal life, I hear. ALSO, while this aspect of the potentially big buck profits battle has gone behind closed doors and is TBD, the $200 million suit filed last November by Kirkman, Hurd and the other core TWD EPs over modified adjusted gross receipts is still alive and kicking.
In many ways, this dismissal filing from Kirkman’s Sullivan & Triggs lawyers and the subsequent arbitration is a bit of a clean up exercise on audit claims. It also comes just under two months after once-blockbuster TWD wrapped up after 11 seasons and as the PR push for first new spinoff The Walking Dead: Dead City kicks off at TCA tomorrow.
Off the small screen, with OG showrunner Frank Darabont and CAA’s bitter eight-year clash with the former home of Mad Men resolved for a $200 million payoff and some future revenues in July 2021, the real show here is the latest lawsuit from the EPs.
“Plaintiffs were forced to file this lawsuit as a result of AMC’s two faced treatment of their right to participate in the historic success of The Walking Dead,” said attorney Sheldon Eisenberg to Deadline back on November 15 of the then new suit. “On the one hand AMC tells them they are entitled to nothing based on erroneous pre-trial rulings which are subject to appeal, while AMC paid $200 million to Frank Darabont and CAA to avoid a New York jury’s review of the exact same contingent compensation definition,” the Sullivan & Triggs lawyer went on to say. “Instead of giving Plaintiffs the benefit of the Darabont settlement as required by the express terms of their contracts, AMC’s creative activity these days seems limited to figuring out new ways to mistreat the talent that is responsible for its now past success.”
Don’t need to be a mindreader to know that AMC see that very differently.
So, with all that, worth noting that Eisenberg and Sullivan & Triggs are representing Kirkman, Hurd, David Alpert, Charles Eglee and former TWD showrunner Glenn Mazzara in both the now-to-be arbitrated matter and the $200 million MAGR action — a united front.