Fired ‘Walking Dead’ Creator Frank Darabont Sues AMC for Profits

It had to happen. TVWriter™ salutes Frank Darabont for daring to go after what was already supposed to be his. (Cuz, see, most people – even writers – don’t have the balls.)

frankdarabont_walking_dead suesamcby Kim Masters, Matthew Belloni

Ousted The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont has slapped AMC with a bombshell lawsuit alleging that the cable channel breached his contract and deprived him of tens of millions of dollars in profits from the hit series by making a sweetheart deal licensing the show to itself.

The suit, filed Tuesday in New York state court and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, hints that a standoff over Darabont’s profit participation, which has been brewing since February 2011, might in part explain his abrupt dismissal in July of that year, only weeks into production of Walking Dead‘s second season and two days after he had appeared at Comic-Con to promote the show. AMC never explained the firing publicly or, according to the suit, to Darabont himself.

The suit, filed Tuesday in New York state court and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, hints that a standoff over Darabont’s profit participation, which has been brewing since February 2011, might in part explain his abrupt dismissal in July of that year, only weeks into production of Walking Dead‘s second season and two days after he had appeared at Comic-Con to promote the show. AMC never explained the firing publicly or, according to the suit, to Darabont himself.

“AMC’s conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious,” Darbont’s lead lawyerDale Kinsella tells THR. “Unfortunately, the fans ofThe Walking Dead have suffered as well by being deprived of his creative talent.”

THR has reached out to an AMC spokesperson for comment and will update with a response.

AMC premiered The Walking Dead in October 2010 and it quickly became the biggest show on cable. Rising again in its fourth season, the zombie apocalypse drama now averages a staggering 13 million viewers — 8.4 million of them adults 18-49. The haul in the pivotal advertising demographic solidifies its status as the highest-rated scripted series across television, and on several Sundays this fall it even outperformed NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

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