Frank Darabont sues AMC over wrongful termination from The Walking Dead
Four years after the fact, Frank Darabont still has yet to see any money from the hugely successful series he brought to television, THE WALKING DEAD. After being unceremoniously fired early into production on the second season of the AMC series, the show has gone on to increase viewers and critical acclaim with each season while also running through multiple show-runners. While Darabont has gone on to develop the currently airing series MOB CITY on TNT, this lawsuit marks the first legal action the respected filmmaker has taken against AMC.
You can head over to Deadline to read the legal details of the lawsuit, but essentially it boils down to this: Frank Darabont's agreement with AMC was that his payment would come in the form of profits from THE WALKING DEAD. But, in something that has been said before by Darabont and others, AMC has kept the budget low on THE WALKING DEAD and run the series at a deficit. Darabont's lawsuit alleges this is a way to avoid paying those who had a hand in the show's creation and development. Darabont also says he is entitled to not only money from THE WALKING DEAD but also the talk show TALKING DEAD and the proposed spin-off series that has yet to be developed.
Frank Darabont never struck me as someone who would sue at the drop of a hat, but these allegations against AMC are not new. This tactic has been used by other studios on other series and when legal action was taken many of them settled out of court. If you watch the opening credits of THE WALKING DEAD you can see that Darabont's name is retained as co-creator of the series but he gets no other credit.
THE WALKING DEAD is clearly a hit and AMC is definitely making a profit off of it. But, despite it being the creation of comic writer Robert Kirkman, the visual style and casting of the cable series owes everything to Darabont's involvement. The show is going to continue to air for years to come so hopefully Frank Darabont will get his due.