Back in January, Frank Darabont, who created AMC's hit series The Walking Dead before he was unceremoniously fired in the middle of the second season, revealed in a deposition why he was actually fired from the hit series. The deposition was part of a major lawsuit the writer-director brought against AMC to reclaim the millions of dollars in profits he was owed after his firing, and now we know exactly how much he's seeking. New documents released today reveal that Frank Darabont is seeking a whopping $280 million from AMC.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the discovery phase of the trial is now over, and Frank Darabont's team issued a certificate of trial readiness on Monday, where it was stated that the filmmaker is seeking $280 million in damages. The lawsuit contends that the network robbed Frank Darabont of profits by licensing the show to its cable affiliate for a smaller fee, which was supposedly designed to ensure profit participants would never receive any money from the deal. Here's what AMC had to say in a brief statement regarding the lawsuit.
"Plaintiffs' damages claim has no basis in reality and we will continue to vigorously defend against this lawsuit."
AMC is arguing that they have the right to negotiate an "imputed fee." Frank Darabont's initial deal with AMC would have paid him as much as 10% of The Walking Dead's profits after deductions. The lawsuit will also address the creator and original showrunner's firing, which also ties into the profits he would have received. Frank Darabont's legal team is assessing that AMC didn't count him as "fully vested" in the second season, despite Frank Darabont's claims that he worked on all of the Season 2 episodes. Glen Mazarra was brought on to replace Frank Darabont, but he left the show after Season 3. The network promoted Scott M. Gimple from staff writer to showrunner, and he has remained at the helm of the show since Season 4.
In his explosive deposition from January, Frank Darabont's successor, Glenn Mazarra, revealed that there was a "personal rift" between Frank Darabont and The Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman. Glenn Mazarra testified that Frank Darabont told AMC he needed some time to figure out the Season 2 finale, and the network wouldn't give him that time before he was let go. Frank Darabont also claimed that the network slashed the show's budget from $3.4 million per episode to $3 million per episode in the second season.
After Glen Mazarra left the show in Season 3, AMC was blasted by Shawn Ryan and Kurt Sutter, who both worked with Glen Mazarra on FX's hit crime drama The Shield. Ever since Scott M. Gimple took the reins on the show, there haven't been any behind-the-scenes shake-ups that we know about, as The Walking Dead gets ready to debut its seventh season on AMC Sunday, October 23. As for this trial, it may not happen any time soon. Now that the discovery phase is over, both sides will move into summary judgment, where even more details about Frank Darabont's time on the show will be revealed. The judge in the case, Justice Eileen Bransten, revealed at a press conference that her 2017 schedule was completely booked, so this trial won't begin until 2018, at the earliest.