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Frank Darabont Sues AMC Again in ‘Walking Dead’ Pay Dispute

Frank Darabont doubled down Thursday on his claim that AMC cheated him out of millions of dollars in “Walking Dead” profits, filing a new lawsuit alleging that he is owed additional tens of millions of dollars.

Darabont has been warring with AMC for more than four years, as he and his agency CAA contend that AMC deprived them of $280 million by failing to engage in arm’s length transactions for distribution of the show.

In the new lawsuit, filed Thursday in New York Supreme Court, Darabont alleges that new information shows that he is entitled to tens of millions in additional compensation. Darabont’s attorneys contend that he is entitled to “most favored nation” treatment with respect to how his profit participation is calculated. But until recently, his lawyers were unaware that another producer on the show, Robert Kirkman, had a profit calculation based on AMC’s “actual” distribution fee, rather than an “imputed” fee used in Darabont’s case. Since Kirkman received a more generous agreement, Darabont alleges his contract is entitled to the same treatment.

This information came to light last fall, when Kirkman and other profit participants filed their own lawsuits against AMC, and attached Kirkman’s contract. Previously, Darabont’s attorneys alleged that AMC had withheld the relevant provision of that document.

Darabont and CAA are seeking at least $10 million in addition to the $280 million they are already claiming in the separate litigation.

Darabont created the hit show, which was based on Kirkman’s comic books, in 2010. He was fired as showrunner the following year. Though the conflict has broad implications for networks’ calculation profit participation, the dispute came to wider attention when Darabont’s rage-filled emails to his colleagues and crew were released last summer.

“Congratulations, you all accomplished what I thought was impossible,” he wrote in one representative missive. “You’ve turned me into a raging a–hole. Thanks a lot, you f—ers.”

Update: AMC’s attorney, Orin Snyder of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, issued the following statement:

“At the heart of this lawsuit — and all the litigation related to ‘The Walking Dead’ — is the greed of CAA. Their goal is every dollar for themselves, with total disregard for contracts, clients, fairness or even basic decency. AMC was the only network willing to take a risk on ‘The Walking Dead,’ after many others passed. AMC has been an honest steward of the series and has paid all of its creative partners handsomely and appropriately. This is just another opportunistic lawsuit orchestrated by the most powerful lawyers and Hollywood agents seeking an unjustified windfall and we are confident that it will be defeated in court.”

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