Frank Darabont says he is owed "tens of millions of dollars"
The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont is suing US network AMC, according to reports.
The BBC says that Darabont has claimed that he is owed “tens of millions of dollars” by the TV network and has filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court. He alleges that he was fired from the zombie drama ahead of its second series so AMC could avoid paying him an increased profit share.
The court documents alleged: “Darabont is being deprived of tens of millions of dollars in profits, despite delivering to AMC the most popular show on all of television and the most popular show in the history of cable.”
They also claim that AMC struck a licensing deal with its own affiliate to license to show which purposefully ensured Darabont would receive no profits. The practice, which is known as “self-dealing”, sees networks pay an artificially low cost to their affiliate for producing the show which ensures that it runs at a loss.
The lawsuit alleges that because AMC set a license fee rate of $1.45 million per episode with an increase of 5% per season, which costs less than it does to produce the show, it was running at a loss of $49 million two years after it premiered in October 2010 and there was subsequently no profit to share.
Darabont and his representatives from the Creative Artists Agency insist they are entitled to more than 20% profit from the show, and the series creator also claims he was wrongly fired from the programme. He left in 2011 due to the ongoing financial dispute.
A lawyer for Darabont, who also said he should receive compensation and credit for his involvement in the spin-off show Talking Dead, added: “AMC’s conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious.”
The Walking Dead was recently renewed for a fifth season, which will air on AMC in 2014. Season four of the acclaimed zombie drama starring Andrew Lincoln began in October of this year, with the premiere episode drawing the show’s best ever audience of 16 million viewers. The Walking Dead0 is currently the most-watched show in America among adults aged 18-49.