Just days after Abbott Elementary creator and star Quinta Brunson snagged those historic nominations for this year’s Emmy Awards, both she and the network behind the popular series found themselves at the center of a new lawsuit.
Per The Wrap, both Brunson and ABC were hit with a copyright infringement suit by writer and actress Christine Davis who alleges that Abbott is a “knock-off’ of her own show, This School Year. Davis apparently wrote the script for her show back in 2018 and had it copyrighted in 2020—just one year before Abbott Elementary made its official debut in December 2021.
In the suit, Davis alleges that both shows are “striking and substantially similar” and that the “look and feel of the inner-city school, the mockumentary style, unique plot synopsis, set design and unique characters” were all copied off of her script.
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Davis in the suit says that she contacted Shavon Sullivan Wright and Cherisse Parks at Blue Parks Productions in Los Angeles in mid-June and July of 2020 and that she had three different meetings regarding “This School Year.” She became aware that both Hulu and ABC were looking for “Black, female-led comedies” and that she received notes on her scripts.
The suit goes on to say that the two scripts have young teacher characters whose “roles are nearly identical in type” and older main characters who are also “nearly identical.” It claims that even the plots to the opening episodes to both series are very similar, in which the school’s principal usurps the central character by taking her rug.
Additionally, neither reps for Brunson nor ABC have commented on this new development. As previously reported by The Root, Abbott Elementary received seven Emmy nominations last week. Brunson herself made history as the first Black woman to receive three comedy Emmy nominations in one year, specifically in the categories of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.