A bunch of Walking Dead bigwigs are suing AMC, claiming the network hasn't compensated them fairly. In what the Hollywood Reporter says "could become the biggest ever profits case in television history," co-creator Robert Kirman (whose comic books provided the show's source material) along with producers Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Mazzara, and David Alpert have now sued AMC; the show's other co-creator, Frank Darabont, had already filed a lawsuit of his own. Per the lawsuit, at least three other shows that aired on AMC but were produced by outside studios were paid higher licensing fees than Walking Dead, which was produced by AMC's in-house studio. As a result, the cast and crew of those shows made a higher percentage of the show's net profits. Per THR, potential damages in the case could reach $1 billion.
The Washington Post explains the issue: Traditionally, a studio and a separate broadcast or cable channel are involved in creating (studio) and airing (channel) a show; the network would pay the production company a licensing fee in order to air the show and the production company would pay the actors and crew a percentage of that fee. But after certain FCC rules were eliminated, a studio and production company are now allowed to be owned by the same corporation; in this case, AMC owns its own production studio. "Since money is changing pockets in the same pair of pants, there’s an incentive for the production company and the cable channel to agree on what might be something of a lowball figure" for the licensing fee and, following that, the amount the talent makes, an expert explains. (Read more The Walking Dead stories.)