February 20, 2014 3:30pm PT by Matthew Belloni
AMC Fights Frank Darabont Over 'Walking Dead' Profits: 'This Is a Baseless Lawsuit'
AMC isn't backing down from Frank Darabont's lawsuit over Walking Dead revenue.
The network has filed an answer to the complaint filed by the hit show's former showrunner and has issued a statement saying it will fight the case.
"AMC Networks has filed its initial response to the Darabont lawsuit. We look forward to demonstrating through the legal process that this is a baseless lawsuit built on claims that have no merit," the network said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Read the full court papers here.
Darabont and his CAA agents claim they are owned tens of millions of dollars after AMC made a sweetheart deal licensing the show to itself. It's an example of a "vertical integration" case involving a producer of a TV show distributing it via an affiliated entity.
The lawsuit also takes issue with how AMC is allegedly calculating net profits and accounting to its profit participants. According to Darabont, two years after its premiere, AMC claimed the show was running a deficit of $49 million.
"Because of AMC's outrageous and improper formula, the profits pool in which [Darabont and CAA] participate may always be in deficit no matter how long-running and successful the series is," the suit alleges.
The lawsuit has the potential of exploring how AMC pays other big-name showrunners including Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner.
In answering the lawsuit, AMC pretty much denies most of the allegations in Darabont's complaint and asserts affirmative defenses of the plaintiffs failing to state a cause of action and failing to mitigate damages. The network also says the agreement bars the lawsuit, that the plaintiffs lack standing and have unclean hands and more.
AMC is being represented by the firm of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman.