The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont has sued AMC network, claiming that the basic network has cheated him out of “tens of millions of dollars of profit” from the successful and popular show.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday (Dec. 17) in New York State Supreme Court, alleges that AMC kept the licensing fee for the zombie-themed series artificially low so as to limit any financial returns to Darabont, who launched the series on AMC in 2010 but was dropped by AMC at the beginning of the second season. The series, now in its fourth season, is the most watched scripted series on cable and is has drawn more 18-49 viewers than any show in cable history.
The Walking Dead ended the first half of its fourth season earlier this month averaging 13 million total viewers and 8.4 million adults 18 to 49, making it the top TV show, broadcast and cable, in the demo.
The lawsuit alleges that AMC -- which serves as both producing studio and network distributor of the series -- engaged in the “self-dealing” practice by "minimizing the revenues that go into the`pool’ of funds for the show’s profit participants.”
The suit alleges that AMC's actions gurantees the series will remain “grossly in deficit” by creating a license fee that is “millions of dollars” lower than what AMC would have to pay an independent studio for a comparable show. “Because of AMC”s outrageous and improper formula, the profits pool in which Plaintiffs participate may always be in deficit no matter how long-running and successful the series is,” alleges the lawsuit, which was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
AMC declined comment on the matter.