In a sequel to explosive litigation over The Walking Dead, the highest-rated drama in cable TV history, Frank Darabont and Creative Artists Agency are suing AMC a second time with new claims of being robbed of tens of millions of dollars in additional profits.
The 2013 lawsuit filed by Darabont, the show’s co-creator and first executive producer, is still very much active, and the parties are eagerly awaiting a judge’s summary judgment decision determining if that $280 million case goes to trial.
The judge is ruling on numerous issues, but none more financially impacting than the controversy over self-dealing. Since AMC is both the studio that produces the zombie hit as well as the cable network that shows it to audiences, the license fee shown in accounting statements to non-AMC profit participants like Darabont and CAA becomes crucial. Darabont claims he has contractual protection that essentially means AMC must pay a fair market fee (perhaps as much as $30 million an episode), one that would truly reflect arms’ length transactions between the company’s affiliates. AMC contends it can impute a license fee as it wishes (it’s currently $2.4 million per episode) as long as it is no less favorable than any other Walking Dead profit participant and that a distribution fee won’t be charged with respect to this.
See more at THR.