"I'm coming for you, AMC." Source: blastr.com
“I’m coming for you, AMC.” Source: blastr.com

It’s trouble in (undead) paradise for  The Walking Dead – former showrunner Frank Darabont is suing AMC,   alleging that the cable channel breached his contract and deprived him of tens of millions of dollars in profits.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit might partially explain Darabont’s abrupt dismissal in July 2011, just 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. But it certainly came as a shock to fans like me who had been highly impressed by the first season.
Court papers claim that Darabont and his agents at CAA, which also is a plaintiff in the suit, have not received anything from his promised profit participation in The Walking Dead.  It further claims that 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 Walking Dead
Even the zombie little girl couldn’t believe the news. ©AMC

Now, I don’t know whether there’s any basis for the suit, but Darabont’s pedigree is not in doubt, having worked on The Shawkshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999). I interviewed Sarah Wayne Callies, who played Lori Grimes, in my old job at The Straits Times, and can recall her saying that she got on the show mainly because she wanted to work with Darabont, “one of the great storytellers of our time.”

Personally, while The Walking Dead remains entertaining, I can’t help feeling that the show has never quite hit the heights that it did during season 1.

It’s worth noting that Glen Mazzara, the man who succeeded Darabont, also left the show abruptly after season 3, and with minimal explanation too. The show is now being run by Scott Gimple. it’s unclear yet if the show might be affected by the suit, but keep watching this space for updates.

What do you think of Frank Darabont suing AMC? How has The Walking Dead been since his departure?