TheWrap reports that writer, actress, and performer Christine Davis has alleged that the show is a “knock-off” of her own, called This School Year. Davis claims that both shows have the same premise and that her show was registered with the copyright office in early 2020, a year before Abbott Elementary’s 2021 debut. Davis is looking for damages, demanding that “Brunson and ABC turn over all profits they made from the show,” as well as a jury trial.
According to the lawsuit, both shows have similar qualities, including the “look and feel of the inner-city school, the mockumentary style, unique plot synopsis, set design, and unique characters.” Davis says she wrote her script in 2018. The lawsuit also says that many of the characters are “nearly identical,” and that the plotlines in the first few episodes are similar as well.
Davis shopped her script to Blue Parks Productions’ Shavon Sullivan Wright and Cherisse Parks in summer 2020 and they met to discuss This School Year. The producers showed Davis’ script to Hulu; a few months later, Abbott Elementary started filming. However, per AV Club, neither producers are connected to Brunson’s show.
Among the seven Emmys that Brunson and her show were nominated for include Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.