Ousted showrunner claims that he's been deprived of profits through “self-dealing”
“The Walking Dead” might have parted ways with former showrunner Frank Darabont, but, like one of the zombies that populates the AMC series, Darabont has risen again … to sue the network.
Darabont, who exited the series in 2011, has filed a lawsuit against AMC, claiming that he was wrongfully fired from the series, and that he is entitled to proceeds from the show.
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In the complaint, filed in New York on Tuesday, Darabont and Creative Artists Agency — which represents Darabont — claim that they haven't received any money from a profit participation deal they struck with the network, despite the show's massive ratings.
According to the suit, AMC both produces and airs the series, and struck up an arrangement in which the network would be “selling” the show to itself, leading to “the improper and abusive practice of ‘self-dealing.'”
“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. “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.”
The lawsuit claims that AMC agreed to implement a license fee comparable to what the network would pay to an unaffiliated studio. 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.”
AMC declined comment on the lawsuit to TheWrap.
The suit claims that Darabont and CAA are contractually owed “tens of millions of dollars” of profits from “The Walking Dead.”
Darabont was replaced as showrunner by Glen Mazzara, who in turn was replaced by Scott Gimple. Darabont's limited series “Mob City” recently premiered on TNT.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.