General News

The Walking Dead creator sues network bosses over unpaid profits

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Dec 17, 2013 | 6:34pm EST

The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont has launched legal action against bosses at American TV network AMC in a bid to secure a cut of millions of profits from the show he was fired from in 2011. The writer and director helped to adapt Robert Kirkman's popular comic books for the small screen in 2010, but he was abruptly dumped by AMC bosses in July, 2011, weeks after starting production on the second season of the hit zombie series. His dismissal was never fully explained and now Darabont has filed suit against AMC chiefs for breach of contract over allegations he and his talent agents at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), who have also been listed as plaintiffs, never received their fair share of earnings. In his legal papers, Darabont claims he was promised 12.5 per cent of profits, but AMC executives insist the programme is running at a deficit of $49 million (£32.7 million), even though the season four premiere, which aired in October (13), drew 16.1 million viewers to become the most-watched drama series telecast in basic U.S. cable history. Darabont has blamed an alleged in-house deal between bosses at the network and its production arm for the lack of funds, claiming the agreement is "clearly designed to ensure that (Darabont and CAA representatives) never see that first dollar". Darabont's lawyer, Dale Kinsella, tells The Hollywood Reporter, "AMC's conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious. Unfortunately, the fans of The Walking Dead have suffered as well by being deprived of his creative talent." The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages, which Darabont believes runs into tens of millions of dollars. News of the lawsuit, which was filed in New York state court on Tuesday (17Dec13), emerges weeks after Darabont unleashed a verbal attack on AMC heads. He told Variety.com last month (Nov13) that he has refused to watch the series since his dismissal, adding, "There's a deep commitment and emotional investment that happens when you create something that is very near and dear to you, and when that is torn asunder by sociopaths who don't give a s**t about your feelings or the feelings of your cast and crew because they have their own reasons to s**ew everybody, that doesn't feel good."

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