The Walking Dead Creator Frank Darabont Sues AMC!

Herner Klenthur

The Walking Dead is about to get quite the twist as the show creator Frank Darabont breaks his silence and sues AMC in New York State. Frank is going to court Court claiming that AMC has screwed him out of 10's of millions of dollars in profit sharing.

His lawyers also claim that the reason Frank was fired before the start of Season 2 of The Walking Dead aired was to screw him out of his profits for creating the show.

Frank Darabont left The Walking Dead in 2011 [ he was fired right after he did comic-con promoting the show ] which shocked fans.

Although The Walking Dead has managed to find its footing in Season 3 the loss of Frank Darabont was a huge hit to the shows creative team. We all wondered why Frank Darabont left the show and now it seems we may know part of the reason as Mr Darabont takes his dispute with AMC to the NY courts.

Frank and his agents at CAA are sueing AMC for profit sharing they say they are owed. Frank was promised up to 12.5% of profit sharing on the hit TV show but there seems to be a glitch. According to AMC the show is not profitable running at a loss in the tens of millions.

How does a hit show that draws as many as 13million eyeballs per episode loose this kind of money? Franks lawyers blame this on AMC. AMC is not only the network airing The Walking Dead they have another arm that produces and makes the show.

So although the show is crazy popular and helping AMC Network no doubt make a ton of money Frank and his agents are reportedly getting screwed because the show was allegedly licensed for peanuts by AMCs production arm to the Network for a measly $1.45 million per episode.

So as Franks lawyers put it the parent company makes a boat load of cash and the show and its producers like Frank lose out. Its complicated but THR does a pretty good job at explaining it saying quote;

Darabont's lawsuit is the latest in a long line of so-called “vertical integration” cases in Hollywood that arise when the producer of a TV show also distributes it via an affiliated entity that pays a license fee to be shared with talent. License fees are supposed to be negotiated between producers and distributors to reflect the fair market value of a given series.When it was clear thatWalking Dead was a runaway hit, AMC then provided a proposal in February 2011 based on “an unconscionably low license fee formula” designed to ensure that the show would never be in profit, according to the suit.

I am not a lawyer and leave this to smarter minds then me but from what THR says this is not the first time and wont be the last time a deal like this happens. Frankly if we play devils advocate for a second if AMC worked out a contract where they produce and distriute a TV show and make a sh*R ton of money who's fault really is that?

I am as noted note a lawyer and yes this deal sounds kinda scummy from what is being reported but is it illegal or an issue for legal action? I have no idea.

Should be interesting to see how this one plays out in court.



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      1. Ryan Hunziker December 18, 2013 at 3:34 am

        I understand what’s going on, in theory it’s not an uncommon situation, but it is usually done for tax purposes. In this case they are just using it to not have to profit share. By Frank taking them to court hopefully they will put together the entities and see that the show does in fact make money and work something out in his favor. I stopped watching it in season 1, glad I did.

      2. Isaac Burns December 18, 2013 at 3:47 am

        It’s one of the if not the best show that I’ve seen on tv in a while just my opinion but I have not missed an episode in all 4 season

      3. Brad December 18, 2013 at 3:54 am

        Not sure who’s right or wrong but it looks like greed will kill another show I love. Sounds like the clock will be winding down on this show. Too bad it’s a really great show.

      4. Stephanie Rodriguez December 18, 2013 at 4:10 am


      5. Mike Buckendorf December 18, 2013 at 4:30 am

        It feels a little odd to refer to Darabont as the show’s ‘creator’. Sure, he was a prime guiding force for the television adaptation, and I guess I’m splitting hairs here, but to me, the ‘creator’ is always going to be Kirkman.

      6. bob101910 December 18, 2013 at 4:39 am

        I’m guessing the show is not as popular as he thinks if they are -$50 mil. Start charging more for ads if they really have that many viewers.

        • Herner Klenthur December 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm


          Darabont’s issue is that he claims AMC Production makes the TV Show and then licenses it to AMC the TV network for a really small number so the network makes a ton of cash off ads and the show and its producers make very little since its technically running in a deficit.

          At least that is how I understand what THR is saying.

      7. Carol Reyes December 18, 2013 at 4:52 am

        Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaya!!!! Brittany Haro

      8. MT December 18, 2013 at 5:26 am

        Sadly, everyone forgets to give credit to the ORIGINAL creators, Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore who created the comics way before the show. Also, this author needs to learn how to spell.

        • Herner Klenthur December 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm

          Thanks MT for taking the time to comment. As fans running a site as a hobby we always appreciate feedback. My spelling isnt perfect I am a fan not an english major but I own that. As for the comments on the ‘creator’ I said show creator in the article. Tks again for reading

      9. Jason December 18, 2013 at 5:26 am

        “lose” not “loose” damnit.

        • Herner Klenthur December 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

          Tks for your courteous comment pointing out the typo on our fan site.

      10. Tom Timmer December 18, 2013 at 6:45 am

        Haha.. A tv show creator suing a corporate company like AMC.. Serves them right for making this corporate unoriginal zombie soap opera.. Did I mention The Walking Dead is unoriginal incorporated crap.. LONG LIVE FULCI and ROMERO….

      11. Joe Maldonado December 18, 2013 at 6:49 am

        Frank Darabont deserves this! Walking dead transfered well to screen due to a large part of what he did. On the other hand…I still hate his ending to The Mist lol

      12. Jeff Currey December 18, 2013 at 6:51 am

        So a guy who if am not mistaken…adapted….a comic book/graphic novel for T.V. is upset because the network turned on him and cast him out. Is this guy paying any money to the people who wrote the comics, or drew the characters? Oh wait he is the “creator” of Walking Dead…so really that was all HIS masterpiece my mistake.

        • Herner Klenthur December 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

          Good points made Jeff. If Frank however had a deal for profit sharing and was legit screwed out of it he probably deserves something for his work.

      13. Frank Tondi December 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm

        He didn’t create the Walking Dead, but his vision is what made the show popular, and then AMC fucked him over to save a few bucks. Subsequent seasons haven’t even came close to what Frank did (IMO)…Give him what he deserves!

        • Herner Klenthur December 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm

          He creatred the show and brought it to AMC I thought. I am not saying he made the comic. Thanks for the comment!

      14. Z Amber Richter December 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm

        Man, if only people really knew how this stuff works. With all due respect, a discussion about the term, ‘creator’ is irrelevant and sort of confuses the discourse here, detracting from Darabont’s situation – Creator, in this context, is shorthand for SHOW creator. Believe me, Kirkman didn’t get screwed; his original work was optioned and developed into a television show of which he became, and holds a title of, executive producer. But anyway, what is essentially happening here is that one of the people who did much of the legwork and put in the work hours at the development stage is getting shafted and is OWED PAY. I’ve worked in the industry and seen this happen a few times to people on a much smaller scale. I know of no other business where people at the professional level (not trainees) are expected to either work for free for something to ‘look great’ on their resume (as in, the promise of prestige), or work on a promise of being paid from the profits of a project which then never gets fulfilled. Would public transport drivers work this way; on a promise? Would doctors? Would janitors? No, but in the film/tv industry people are expected bust their humps to get something off the ground quite often on a promise of being paid after a project launches or profits, only to turn around and watch the greedy conglomerate they’ve done all that work for suddenly snatch up all the profit through some sort of sneaky loophole. There is a reason why Darabont’s agency, CAA (one of the big ones), is onboard with him and I’ll bet it’s because they’ve watched him rack up tons of hours on this project on promises to be paid for WORK DONR, to no avail – and they may also lose out, percentage-wise as his agency. It’s not right. It may seem like a glamorous industry what with all the celebrities and high rollers at the top, but people on the development end and [especially] the production end (my area) work really hard and do not deserve ‘a little something’ or nothing at all; they deserve to get paid just like anyone else on any other job in any other sector or industry. There are individual workers and teams of people who work their asses off to make sure these shows happen and make it on-air, and they need to be paid for services rendered just like anyone else. That’s the bottom line.

      15. Michael kruger December 19, 2013 at 1:33 am

        I really don’t care about this show.

      16. Uzza December 23, 2013 at 8:38 am

        Ok for all you guys who don’t understand this, and think he’s being greedy here’s a quick break down. Let’s say the show makes 6 mil in revenue per episode (which is quite low but just used as an example) AMC’s production company, makes 1 episode for 3 mil, then they “sell” that episode to AMC’s network company for 1.4 mil. Then they report that they lost 1.6 mil making that episode. So they subtract that from the 6 mil made off ad revenue, bringing the shows profit down from 3 million to 1.4. Now that 1.6 million they claim they lost, isn’t actually lost at all, they just transfer it from one of AMC’s pockets to the other. It’s all still there. Now let’s look at it from Frank Darabont point of view, the episode cost 3 mil it made 6, so the profits should be 375k or 12.5% of 3 mil per episode. But because of AMC’s scummy tactics, and shuffling their money around in their convoluted shell game, he makes 175k per episode, less than half of what he was owed. Oh and btw when large corporations or hedgefunds do this kind of thing they usually spend time in jail.