Details of Frank Darabont’s departure from AMC’s “The Walking Dead” several years ago have come to light as part of a recently unsealed deposition by the filmmaker who served as the original showrunner on the first two seasons of the series.
THR Esq has a breakdown of the document which was taken as a part of Darabont’s lawsuit against AMC which claimed the channel withheld profits of the show’s second season from him. Darabont was fired while the season was being filmed, so AMC gave him financial credit and profit portions for 75% of the season.
Glen Mazzara, Darabont’s assistant and his successor, corroborates Darabont’s version – that the filmmaker worked on all the season’s episodes prior to filming and deserved his showrunner’s pay for the season’s entirety.
Other details garnered from the deposition include AMC cutting the show’s budget from $3.4 million per episode to $3 million – at a time when the show was already a ratings juggernaut and only growing. On top of that it says the network also kept the tax credit, with Darabont saying “So, between the two you’ve got a full 25% cut across the board” which understandably hurt the cast and crew. The second season premiere in particular was apparently a point at which the show almost collapsed.
You can read more here but Darabont is fairly unforgiving in his assessment of the AMC executives. A network spokesperson has responded, saying: “The reality is that he has been paid millions of dollars under the terms of his contract, which we honored, and we will continue to vigorously defend against this lawsuit.”
Scott Gimple serves as current showrunner on the series, having done so through since the fourth season following Mazzara’s departure.