The fired creator claims that AMC owes him “tens of millions of dollars.”
Even though The Walking Dead ex-showrunner left the series in 2011, Darabont has come back to file a lawsuit against AMC. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the suit was filed on Tuesday in New York.
In the complaint, Daront and Creative Artists Agency (which represents him) claim that they have not receive any money from the profit participation deal they had with the network. Dale Kinsella, Darabont’s lead lawyer said that, “AMC’s conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious,”. As reported by THR, he also added “Unfortunately, the fans of The Walking Dead have suffered as well by being deprived of his creative talent.”
“One AMC affiliate produces The Walking Dead and then licenses the show for an artificially low fee to another AMC affiliate that televises the show to the public,” the lawsuit reads as reported by The Wrap. “The sole goal of this sham transaction is to enhance the profits of the parent company by minimizing the revenues that go into the ‘pool’ of funds for the show’s profit participants.”
According to the suit, AMC initially agreed in the contract signed in September of 2009 that the series would be produced by an unaffiliated studio (like Warner Bros or Lionsgate). The contract also mentioned that Darabont would receive as much as 12.5 percent of that entity’s profit after standard industry deductions. Instead, Darabont and CAA allege, the network created “a license fee formula that guarantees that the series will remain grossly in deficit, and that fails to account for the series’ success.”
The suit claims that AMC “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.”
In addition to the unspecified damages, Darabont claims total in the tens of millions of dollars. Besides this, he is also asking for a cut of the show’s spinoff and he scripted the companion series that AMC is working on.
The Walking Dead premiered on AMC in October 2010 and quickly became one of the biggest shows on cable. The zombie apocalypse drama averages 13 million viewers (8.4 million of them being adults 18-49). Darabont was replaced as showrunner by Glen Mazzara who was in turn replaced by Scott Gimple. Mob City, the series produced by Frank Darabont, recently premiered on TNT.