Former Walking Dead showrunner lawsuit bashes AMC over the treatment of their most watched TV show ever.
When The Walking Dead started production in 2010, fans of the graphic novels couldn’t hold back their excitement. Frank Darabont, the director and writer of The Shawshank Redeption, was hired to handle the TV adaptation of what would become one of the biggest show’s in American history. In addition to Darabont, AMC hired Greg Nicotero, who worked on the legendary movie Day of the Dead to bring Darabont’s image to life. Fans of the zombie series knew it was going to be a hit movie. But along the way something happened and everything fell apart.
In an unsealed deposition revealed by The Hollywood Reporter Darabont revealed that AMC executives not only reduced the show’s budget out of nowhere, but fired Darabont from their biggest TV show ever while reducing his profit share from 10% to 7.5%.
Frank Darabont says, “I remember Joel Stillerman [president of original programming and development for AMC], in a meeting in my office, when we were all discussing the issues of the upcoming season, we said to him, ‘Surely that the success of the show, which, by the way, you guys are bragging about because we keep getting e-mails saying, ‘Hey, we’re breaking viewership records in 120 countries around the world by hundreds of percent, in some countries by over 1,000%,’ at the same time we’re hearing how successful the show is for you, you’re telling us that this, this budget issue is not going to budge at all. And he said, ‘The success of the show has no bearing on this discussion,’ in a rather icy manner.”
The success of the show has no bearing on this discussion,’ in a rather icy manner.”
According to Darabont, AMC decided to cut the budget from 3.4 million per episode to only 3 million. In addition, AMC took away The Walking Dead’s tax credit. “That was bad enough, but then they dropped the bomb on us that, oh by the way, they’re keeping the tax credit,” he testified. “They’re going to pocket the tax credit. So, between the two you’ve got a full 25% cut across the board.”
“That was bad enough, but then they dropped the bomb on us that, oh by the way, they’re keeping the tax credit,”
Considering Darabont basically created the show with his bare hands, it’s upsetting to see what happened behind the scenes and how AMC executives handled their most successful TV series ever.