The creator of the hit cable television show “The Walking Dead” is suing AMC, claiming the network has skimmed tens of millions of dollars in profits owed to him for his role in developing the zombie apocalypse show.
The suit filed by Frank Darabont and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter claims the network
collected hordes of cash by making what amounts to a bogus deal to license the show to itself.
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“AMC’s conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious,” Darabont lawyer Dale Kinsella told The Hollywood Reporter. “Unfortunately, the fans of “The Walking Dead have suffered by being deprived of his creative talent.”
AMC fired Darabont in July of 2011 during the show’s second season. Now in its fourth season, the zombie drama averages 13 million viewers per episode, and most of them are in the coveted 18- to- 49-year-old category. The show has been so successful that it has outdrawn NBC’s Sunday Night Football on several occasions.
THR notes the lawsuit is the latest in a series of cases that have come about when the producer of a TV show distributes it through an affiliated company that pays a license fee to be shared with talent — in this case, Darabont. Past lawsuits involving other shows allege the fees have been manipulated to minimize or eliminate the payments owed.
“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 shows profit participants,” according the complaint.
CNN says the suit alleges Darabont “has not received
and may never receive one dollar in profits for developing the series.”
“License fees can be manipulated ... when the entity producing the show and the entity broadcasting it are controlled by the same parent company, or where the network owns and/or controls the production company,” the complaint alleges.
“The Walking Dead” is based on a comic book series and focuses on a sheriff’s deputy who awakens from a coma to find a world dominated by flesh-eating zombies. He comes into contact with other survivors while setting off to find his family.
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