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After Successful First Season On ABC, Quinta Brunson's Popular Abbott Elementary Show Is Being Sued

Abbott Elementary, like a number of other shows, earned multiple 2022 Emmy nominations this past week. Of course, after a successful first season and a renewal for Season 2, the nominations were simply the icing on the cake. Series creator and star Quinta Brunson has been riding high as of late but is now facing an unforeseen development. It would appear that the popular ABC sitcom is being sued.

Only a day after the awards nods were revealed, Quinta Brunson and the comedy’s home network were hit with a lawsuit filed by writer and actress Christine Davis, according to Radar Online. In the court filing, Davis alleges that the hit sitcom is ripped off school-centric concept This School Year, specifically accusing all parties involved took of copyright infringement. With this, she's reportedly demanding that Brunson and ABC surrender the profits they've made from the Emmy-nominated show at this point.

The filing states Christine Davis crafted the script in 2018 and registered it with the United States Copyright Office in March 2020. From there, she purportedly had three meetings with Shavon Sullivan Wright and Cherisse Parks of Blue Park Productions about the script in July 2020. Allegedly, the producers told Davis that ABC and Hulu were interested in Black female-led comedies. She claims Wright and Parks took the teacher-centric series to the streamer but that nothing ever came of it. After the platform allegedly passed, ABC announced in September 2020 that production on Abbott had started, with the Janine Teagues actress credited as the series’ creator.

Via the documents, it's also claimed that the writer's series was a mockumentary focusing on the faculty and staff at a New York City public school, where the principal hires a film crew to document the typical day-to-day workflow. It's also said that the main character, Ms. David, was characterized as a  “young, idealistic teacher hoping to get tenure but also trying to convince everyone that the school needs to be reformed.”

All in all, Christine Davis asserts that Abbott Elementary essentially took everything -- from the mockumentary style to the urban setting and characters -- from her original script. The lawsuit claims Abbott’s faculty and staff are almost identical to those in her writing. 

Quinta Brunson has been candid about her journey to getting Abbott Elementary made. Brunson revealed that she was going to quit TV had the alphabet network passed on it. Of course, things have worked in her favor The series’ runaway success has even led some to credit Abbott with reviving interest in network sitcoms (a notion that Brunson has downplayed). She's also used it for charitable causes, like helping real-life teachers get school supplies.

How things pan out with Christine Davis’ lawsuit remain to be seen. The same can be said for how Abbott Elementary will fare at this year's Primetime Emmys. The show is up for several big honors, including Outstanding Comedy Series, in a competitive pool of nominees. All the while, Quinta Brunson is currently crafting Season 2 of the hit show. Season 2 will premiere on September 21, and those who have yet to watch the show can stream Season 1 using a Hulu subscription.

Adreon Patterson
Adreon Patterson

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).