Frank Darabont, the creator of ‘The Walking Dead’ has sued AMC for supposedly trying to cheat him out of tens of millions of dollars in profits from the hit zombie series.
“Despite four seasons of unprecedented programming success and profitability for defendants, Darabont has not received and may never receive one dollar in profits for developing the series,” the suit said.
Darabont is a well known Oscar-nominated screenwriter and film director, famous for his work in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999). He worked for several years to develop and write ‘The Walking Dead’ TV series based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book about zombies. Darabont now believes that his licensing agreement with AMC was a sham that aimed at making profit for the parent company while denying its participants their rightful share. In the suit, Darabont also complains that AMC fired him without cause during the second season in order to dodge renegotiating his deal.
Darabont’s complaint says that the licensing fee is being manipulated because the broadcasting company and the licensing company are one in the same – AMC. “For instance, the ‘Mad Men’ licensing company gets $3 million from AMC per episode whereas AMC pays just $1.45 million to itself per ‘Walking Dead’ episode. According to the lawsuit, ‘Mad Men’ only draws about 25% the number of viewers that ‘The Walking Dead’ does.
As of December 2012, AMC’s statements showed that “The Walking Dead” had to overcome $49 million deficit before its creator could see the first dollar. Darabont now accuses AMC of manipulating the figures so that the “plaintiffs never see that first dollar.”
The suit says that the company claims a $55 million deficit after a production cost totaled $104.5 million and AMC paid itself $49 million dollars in license fees. Therefore, as long as AMC continues to run a deficit the plaintiffs won’t get paid.
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