It appears that Robert Kirkman’s case over The Walking Dead has come to an end after a court in Los Angeles dismissed the bulk of his allegations.
In order to decide whether or not to dismantle the foundations of an earnings dispute conducted by Walking Dead author Robert Kirkman and numerous executive producers all seeking a bigger part in the hit zombie series, a Los Angeles judge had to answer a simple question:
Is AMC’s Agreement With the Show’s Creators Deliberately Structured to Prevent the Creators From Receiving Any Revenue From the Show?
AMC did not reverse engineer its contracts to shortchange Kirkman, Judge Daniel Buckley hinted on Friday. A lot less money will be at play in the fight for the highest-rated television season in cable history according to the judgement.
In a preliminary judgement, the court gave the network summary judgement on grounds of breach of the implied obligation of good faith and fair dealing and tortious interference. The court has yet to rule on the audit claims, therefore the case is still open.
In Response to the Modified Legal Claims, AMC Called Them a “Do-Over” Request.
On Friday, a hearing took place between AMC and Kirkman’s lawyers to discuss the reasoning behind AMC’s MAGR definition and the reasonableness of AMC’s licence prices in contrast to the industry standard.
Sheldon Eisenberg, the plaintiffs’ attorney, alleged AMC acted in bad faith by proposing a contract with a “basic structural fault” that “made it impossible for Kirkman to collect contingent pay.”
He argued that “AMC had to have done something with this definition that deprives Kirkman of what he reasonably expected” (a share of the profits if the show is successful). “This is the most popular show in the history of cable television.”
Since Kirkman’s payments for The Walking Dead are higher than those of other networks, he argues that AMC cut its affiliate a deal it couldn’t refuse in order to secure the show’s licence. Compared to other networks, CBS will pay back 100% of production expenditures after five years, in addition to deficit reimbursement for past years, if the show is among the top 10 rated series. Eisenberg argued that it is “basic TV economics” that a positive MAGR number is impossible without certain caveats.
In response, AMC’s Scott Edelman said, “It doesn’t matter what other networks provide.” Edelman claims that the issue is not whether or not the contract is economically inappropriate.
Buckley never gave any sign that he was going to change his mind after all. Due to his impending retirement in May, he will no longer be in charge of the case should it proceed to trial.
It’s MAGR or M-A-G-R? I assumed that would be settled at the very least,” he joked.
The attorneys for Kirkman have stated that they will not participate in mediation if the court upholds its preliminary ruling. They plan to challenge Buckley’s summary judgement order.