Frank Darabont was instrumental in bringing The Walking Dead comic to television. He helped produce the show, he directed the pilot, and then he was pushed out because the show wasn't very good. Now that TWD is one of the mostly watched and profitable series on TV, Darabont would like his cut. Which he says is very, very large.
Darabont says AMC has deprived him of millions of dollars in profits from the show, which the show undoubtedly makes (seriously, it had 13 million viwers last season. Its ratings are insane), because of some bizarre deal where the show has somehow "licensed the show to itself." The Hollywood Reporter explains:
The suit, filed Tuesday in New York state court and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, hints that a standoff over Darabont's profit participation, which has been brewing since February 2011, might in part explain his abrupt dismissal in July of that year, only weeks into production of Walking Dead's second season and 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.
"AMC's conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious," Darabont's lead lawyer Dale Kinsella tells THR. "Unfortunately, the fans ofThe Walking Dead have suffered as well by being deprived of his creative talent."
I have no idea about the licensing or profits shared or whether Frank Darabont is actually owed money, but let me assure Mr. Kinsella that the fans are doing just fine. The current season of The Walking Dead has been been the show's best by a large margin, and Darabont was clearly not involved in any part of it. If you owe him money, AMC, please pay him; if you've been shitty to him, please apologize. But please keep his hands of off the show, okay?