'The Walking Dead' Creator Frank Darabont To Sue AMC Over Show Profits
Following his unceremonious axing from the show, Darabont is taking AMC to court
When Frank Darabont was fired from The Walking Dead by its network AMC there was confusion surrounding his exit and neither party seemed willing to comment on why he had been ousted, with AMC in particular keeping quiet on the axing. More than two year later and it seems as though Darabont is still hung up about his axing from the show, so he has done like all Americans do when faced in a seemingly unfair situation; he sued.
Since he was ousted from the show Darabont has been replaced by showrunners Glen Mazzara and Scott M. Gimple
On Tuesday, 17 December, Darabont filed a law suit again AMC at a New York court, with the series creator claiming for unpaid profit in his lawsuit. According to The Hollywood Reporter, who gained access to the legal documents, Daramont and AMC have been locked in a stalemate over profits since February 2011, with the papers hinting that Daramont may have been fired over this payment dispute. It seems that, as series creator, Daramont is after some of AMC's profit margin earned by the show, with the cable company unwilling to give him a single cent since the dispute began in 2011.
Darabont and his agents at CAA claim that they have never received a payment from AMC for the much-watched show, which is No. 1 in the ratings for the adults aged 18 - 49 demographic, despite being promised otherwise. In the suit he also claims that because AMC both produces and airs the show, their approach has been specifically set up so Daramont does not receive profit from the show. On the counter, AMC claim that the show is running a $49 million deficit that would make it financially impossible to pay Daramont what he wants.
Darabont also claims in his lawsuit that he was told production for he show would be handled by an unaffiliated studio and that he would receive as much as 12.5% of profits following standard industry deductions. The suit goes on to claim that, when AMC began producing the show in-house, he repeatedly asked AMC how his profits would continue to flow in, with AMC only ever telling him that they wanted to wait and see how the show performs.
The studio "fired Darabont without cause shortly before Season 2 aired precisely in order to avoid its contractual obligation to pay him increased profits (which vested fully at the conclusion of Season 2) and to avoid its obligation to negotiate to hire him as showrunner for Season 3," Darabont's suit claims. Darbont's lead lawyer, Dale Kinsella, also said to THR, "AMC's conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious. Unfortunately, the fans of The Walking Dead have suffered as well by being deprived of his creative talent."
Frank is seeking payment estimated somewhere in the millions for his involvement in the show and also wants a cut of the profits earned by The Talking Dead and the upcoming spin-off AMC are currently developing.
What would Rick make of all this?