Original ‘Walking Dead’ showrunner files suit against AMC

Many residents in Rochester, Minnesota are fans of the TV show “The Walking Dead,” a drama about zombies that was adapted from a comic book. It is the most watched drama in the history of basic television, and roughly 16.1 million people watched the season premiere in October 2013. However, for all the success “The Walking Dead” has garnered, it has had a rocky off-set life.

Frank Darabont, he of “Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile” fame, was the original showrunner for “The Walking Dead.” He saw to the first season of the show and began production on the second season — when he was suddenly and mysteriously fired by AMC, the TV network showing “The Walking Dead.”

As the show evolved over the next few season (and up to the present), it obviously became immensely popular. Darabont recently decided to sue AMC for “tens of millions of dollars” lost as a result. Darabont and his management agency, Creative Artists Agency, are filing suit against AMC. They claim that Darabont was not given his 12.5 percent share on future profits of the show, and that AMC used “artificial manipulation” of licensing fees in an attempt to avoid paying Darabont what he is owed.

These licensing fees — and the alleged act of “artificial manipulation” — have been the subject of business litigation before on popular TV shows, such as “Home Improvement,” “The X-Files,” “Will & Grace,” and “Smallville.” Obviously there is a legal issue here with television production and the use of these licensing fees, something both producers and networks will need to keep an eye on.

Source: Upstart, “The Walking Dead co-creator claims he got stiffed,” Teresa Novellino, Dec. 18, 2013

FindLaw Network