In a legal action that will be watched closely in Hollywood, several producers of “The Walking Dead” on Monday sued AMC — the cable network that presents the hit TV series — seeking a greater share of profits.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that AMC has been holding back a significant amount of money that traditionally would have been handed over to top producers once a show has been as successful and on the air as long as “The Walking Dead” has been.
The suit lays the groundwork for what should become a remarkably strained relationship between the show’s principal producers and AMC executives as “The Walking Dead” approaches its eighth-season premiere this year. The suit also involves spinoff series like “Fear the Walking Dead” and “Talking Dead.”
The move also follows a similar lawsuit filed by Frank Darabont, one of the show’s creators, who was fired during the second season of the show. Mr. Darabont is seeking more than $200 million in damages.
The plaintiffs in the suit include Robert Kirkman, a creator of the show, and Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Mazzara and David Alpert, all producers. Last week, Mr. Kirkman announced he was leaving AMC Studios for Amazon, an early sign that something was amiss in his relationship with the network.
With flagging ratings and more TV shows than ever, networks in recent years have been building out and buying more shows from sister studios, rather than going to outside studios like Sony or Lionsgate.
The suit claims that AMC set up a sweetheart deal with its own studio, AMC Studios, denying producers of “The Walking Dead” a greater share of profit participation that has traditionally been showered on producers and actors of successful, long-running series.