Shortly after referring to AMC executives as “sociopaths,” Frank Darabont, the creator of The Walking Dead, filed a lawsuit against the network for breach of contract, claiming that he has not received tens of millions of dollars in profits from the show since he was sacked as head writer.
As The Hollywood Reporter reports, the fight over Darabont’s earnings “has been brewing since February 2011, [and] 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.”
According to the lawsuit, Darabont’s firing was the result of network cost-cutting. AMC “fired Darabont without cause shortly before Season 2 aired precisely in order to avoid its contractual obligation to pay him increased profits (which vested fully at the conclusion of Season 2) and to avoid its obligation to negotiate to hire him as showrunner for Season 3,” the suit claims.
Darabont has been on something of a media tear since his ouster, giving Variety some choice quotes about his former employers: “If the woman you loved with all your heart left you for the Pilates instructor and just sent you an invitation to the wedding, would you go? … There’s a deep commitment and emotional investment that happens when you create something that is very near and dear to you, and when that is torn asunder by sociopaths who don’t give a shit about your feelings or the feelings of your cast and crew because they have their own reasons to screw everybody, that doesn’t feel good.”
Darabont’s suit is certainly in the grand tradition of successful TV show lawsuits, which can often be quite contentious, or just plain bizarre. One writer sued Lost creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, claiming they had stolen the show from an idea he had pitched to ABC in the ’70s. Another sued the Burn Notice producers for $500 million, claiming aspects of super-spy Michael Westen‘s life were “very much like” his own.
AMC has recently had another high-profile suit as well: The network settled with a model who said AMC did not ask her permission to include her image in the Mad Men opening credits.
Watch non-stop classic horror on Chillings via FilmOn
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