Walking Dead Creator Frank Darabont Suing AMC Over Profits Dispute

Frank Darabont has filed a lawsuit against entertainment company AMC Networks after he claims that he was cheated out of tens of millions of dollars in profits. Darabont, the creator of hit AMC zombie drama The Walking Dead, has alleged that AMC breached his contract in not paying him the profits owed. Since Darabont was ditched from the show in 2011, The Walking Dead has gone on to be one of the most popular shows on television.

The Walking Dead
'The Walking Dead' Creator Frank Darabont Goes Up Against AMC To Claim Profits.

Despite this runaway success, Darabont has yet to receive any money as a participant in the profits. Yesterday (17th Dec.), Darabont and his agency CAA filed a lawsuit against AMC, accusing the network in "self dealing" by setting an "an unconscionably low license fee formula" for the series it also produces as well as employing questionable accounting practices thus depriving profit participants of compensation, according to Deadline.

Not only this but Darabont also claims that he was wrongfully cut from the show and that he should be credited as an executive producer, paid a share of the proceeds from any spin-offs, which include offshoot Talking Dead. Darabont and CAA are seeking unspecified "monetary damages" which will be determined by a jury trial.

Central to Darabont's suit is the canny licensing that AMC set up with itself, known as self-dealing. Against the trend of a show being produced and distributed by separate companies, AMC decided to do both, producing and airing the horror series in-house. AMC was planning to offer Darabont 12.5% of the profits but after the writer had handed over his first script, the network took the decision.

The Walking Dead Poster Andrew Lincoln

"AMC capped the license fee in perpetuity at the lower of 65 percent of the costs of producing the series or $1.45 million per episode, meaning that there would be a significant deficit on every episode produced for the life of the series," the suit alleges. Darabont's lawyers claim that The Walking Dead, which averages 13 milllion viewers a week, currently runs a deficit of $49 million, and that the self-deal "is clearly designed to ensure that [Darabont and CAA] never see that first dollar."

"AMC's conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious," Darabont's Hollywood heavyweight lawyer Dale Kinsella said, via The Sydney Morning Herald.

Whilst Darabont hasn't publically commented on the recent news, his case has been gathering a lot of support on Twitter, particularly from fans of the show and fellow industry professionals. Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, who has previously voiced his displeasure over the dismissal of Frank's Walking Dead successor, Glen Mazzara, tweeted "go frank. f**k those ghoulish, dead-eyed scumbags in their green-gobbed asses. i ain't talking about the zombies."


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