A recent media report states that huge entertainment company AMC "has been hit with two pretty major blows" relating to its tremendously popular cable TV show The Walking Dead.
The first figurative punch struck by series creator Robert Kirkman was notification that he will not work further with the entertainment company on any new work product.
And then there is this: Following on that announcement, Kirkman and a few other show principals sued AMC, contending that it has negotiated with them in bad faith and deprived them of an equitable share of the show's outsized profits.
Under a spotlight in the litigation is the practice commonly known as "vertical integration." Simply illustrated in the Walking Dead lawsuit, it reflects the fact that one entity of the vast AMC enterprise produces the show, with another network-related arm airing it.
And that is a harmful arrangement, notes Kirkman's suit, because it has yielded inside negotiations between the two parties that are truly not arms-length and that have shorted profits for other key principals involved.
In Kirkman's case, that means individuals centrally involved in the creative process.
AMC calls the suit "baseless and predictably opportunistic."
The plaintiffs counter that if the show's studio and network were independent of each other, "the story [regarding negotiated fees and profit sharing] would be very different."
Kirkman's suit actually follows quite similar litigation that was filed earlier by the show's original producer.
The above-cited Forbes article states that, collectively considered, the two filings could yield more than $1 billion in damages against AMC.