‘Walking Dead’ Showruner Drama Continues: Ousted Frank Darabont Sues AMC
Just when you thought 'The Walking Dead''s latest season renewal had gone by without the showrunner shakeups so often associated with the series, it seems the AMC monster drama has a new problem on its hands. 'The Walking Dead''s original showrunner and co-creator Frank Darabont has hit AMC with a lawsuit alleging that the network defaulted on upwards of $10 million in royalties. Merry Christmas to all!
Via The Hollywood Reporter, the New York-filed lawsuit implies that profit participation issues dating back to early 2011 may have caused Darabont's abrupt dismissal from the series in July of that year, just days after promoting the second season at San Diego Comic-Con. Neither AMC nor Darabont have been explicit in their explanations for the event, though most recently Darabont took to blasting the "sociopaths" at the network.
“AMC’s conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious," Darabont's lawyer Dale Kinsella told publications of the the network licensing 'The Walking Dead' to itself, cutting Darabont off of millions in profits since. "Unfortunately, the fans of 'The Walking Dead' have suffered as well by being deprived of his creative talent."
Essentially, the suit claims that AMC reneged on a decision to license the original 'Walking Dead' episodes through an unaffiliated studio, instead producing the series in-house with a measure designed to maximize profits for itself. Darabont purports to have been purposefully kept out of negotiations for a showrunner's percentage fee, as AMC waited to determine that the series would be a hit. Thereafter, AMC would continually keep the series in a deficit of sorts to ensure that episodes would pay out less than they cost to make, regardless of how successful they became.
It remains unknown if Darabont's exit and subsequent lawsuit have any ties to follow up showrunner Glen Mazzara's less-contested exit during the third season, though it seems as if the fun never ends behind the scenes of 'The Walking Dead.' Darabont has since moved on to TNT's 'Mob City,' but what say you? Is 'The Walking Dead' worth the continual headaches it provides to AMC?