Immediately following Abbott Elementary‘s Emmy Nomination for “Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series,” ABC and the show’s creator and actress, Quinta Brunson, are being sued for copyright infringement by aspiring writer and actress Christine Davis.
She claimed that Abbott Elementary is identical to the show she produced This School Year.
“Without [Davis’] permission, license, authority, or consent, [Brunson & ABC] knowingly and illegal used [Davis’] works to create the Abbott Elementary television show.”
According to Radar, Davis wrote This School Year in 2018 and registered with the United States Copyright Office in 2020, a year before Abbott Elementary aired. In court documents, Davis described This School Year as a comedy set in a New York City public high school, where a principal employed filmmakers to make a documentary about the school. The principal assumes everything is under control and everyone is complying with the rules, but they aren’t. Davis’ main character is Ms. David, a young, optimistic teacher who tries to “convince everyone that the school needs to be reformed.”
Abbott allegedly followed the same style.
Davis’ frustration stems from her taking This School Year to Shavon Sullivan Wright and Cherisse Parks at Blue Park Productions in July 2020, who told her that ABC and Hulu wanted Black, female-led comedies. Wright and Parks took Davis’ script to the two companies, but Davis didn’t receive a deal.
Imagine her surprise when she discovered that ABC began filming Abbott Elementary in September 2020, cast Brunson as lead, and named her creator.
Davis said in the lawsuit that the show copied everything from her script, from the plot to the characters.
“Additionally, the main characters are all stingingly and substantially similar,” Davis said in the suit. “From the triad of young teachers whose roles are identical.”
Davis wants Brunson and ABC to give her all the profits they made from Abbott Elementary.
Emmy Awards will take place in September 2022.