Frank Darabont is suing AMC over profits from the walking dead, according to a report from THR. Darabont's lawsuit claims that he was unfairly terminated as showrunner, and that AMC engaged in unscrupulous practices to ensure that Darabont, who developed the show, hasn't seen a single cent of profits from it. You can read the complaint here.
From what we can figure out, the suit says that AMC originally agreed to produce the show at an unaffiliated studio and give Darabont up to 12.5% of the profits, but later reneged on the deal, deciding to produce it in house and pay itself an "unconscionably low license fee" of $1.45 million, about 65% of the actual cost to produce the show, in order to make sure it never made a profit (on paper, at least), despite being extremely successful. The practice of manipulation of license fees within companies that both produce and distribute a show in order to avoid paying money to talent is known as "self-dealing," and other shows, such as The X-Files and Smallville, have been involved in similar accusations. Darabont's claims that his sudden and unexplained termination from the show was also meant to deprive him of his rightful profits.
Perhaps more amusingly, Darabont's lawyers also claim that the lack of Darabont has caused the show to suck:
“AMC’s conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious," Darbont's lead lawyer Dale Kinsella tells THR. "Unfortunately, the fans of The Walking Dead have suffered as well by being deprived of his creative talent."
Had Darabont stuck around, presumably, viewers might have been able to avoid witnessing Andrea's incredibly stupid decision making in Season 3, as well as the decision to end that season with an anti-climactic lack of a battle only to rehash The Governor's storyline in Season 4. We might also have been spared numerous dumb scenes with Rick hallucinating his dead wife.
On the other hand, Darabont's case may be weakened by the existence of the Season 1 "Vatos" episode, in which Rick's band of survivors clashes with a group of Latino gang members who turn out to be protecting a nursing home full of elderly patients in an intolerably cliche twist, as well as the incredibly cheesy CDC story line that ended the season. In addition, it's likely that the group would still be stuck in the plot about Carol's missing daughter to this very day had Darabont been allowed to keep his job.
The Outhouse will keep you updated on this breaking story as it develops.
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