The existence of “The Walking Dead” as a television series is greatly owed to the efforts of writer/director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption). Darabont’s discovery of the original comic book series in a specialty store is what caused him to seek out series creator Robert Kirkman to develop it into a television series, which was picked up by AMC partially because of his involvement. After serving as writer and director of the pilot episode and showrunner for the first season, budget cuts from the network (twice as many episodes for 20% less money) and a strained relationship with network executives forced Darabont off of the show.
Now, over a year-and-a-half after the first legal squabbles between Darabont, his agency, and AMC were started, Darabont is going after the network hard. According to a new report at Deadline, Frank Darabont and his agency CAA have filed a new complaint in court stemming from wrongful termination by AMC over Darabont’s position on the show’s first season, as well as calling the upcoming spin-off series “Fear the Walking Dead” a “derivative production” of the original series that the director developed, alleging that he is owed compensation because of it. The talk show “Talking Dead,” hosted by Chris Hardwick and often airing right after new episodes of the series, is also named in the complaint as a derivative production for which Darabont is owed payment as the primary developer of the original series.
Darabont argues that AMC’s language regarding “Fear the Walking Dead” is also purposefully misleading, as the network has called it a “companion series” in their pre-release materials as opposed to a spin-off. This is, Darabont feels, an attempt to deny him payment stemming from “Fear’s” position as a spin-off of the main show, without which the new show would likely not exist.
Damages that Darabont and CAA are seeking reportedly total in the tens of millions of dollars. While this has dragged in its current form since at least December of 2013, this is unlikely to affect the production schedules of any of the shows, whether its the upcoming sixth season of “The Walking Dead,” the in-development second season of “Fear the Walking Dead,” or “Talking Dead.” Still, it should prove interesting to see what a court could decide, since it seems that both sides in the lawsuit have a fervor and overall language that suggests an immense, vested interest in the future of “The Walking Dead” franchise.
For more on this as it takes shape, keep an eye on GeekNation.
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