Blank Rome Secures $200 Million Profit Participation Settlement on Behalf of Frank Darabont and Creative Artists Agency
A Blank Rome team representing Frank Darabont and Creative Artists Agency (“CAA”) successfully concluded an eight-year litigation against AMC Network over the license fees for the mega-hit television series, The Walking Dead, resulting in AMC agreeing to pay Darabont and CAA $200 million for their share of profits in the series, as well as a portion of profits from future streaming revenues.
Frank Darabont, who had previously written and directed such hits as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, adapted a graphic novel about a zombie apocalypse for television, serving as the show’s writer, director, and showrunner. Although the show was an immediate hit, breaking all records for cable television, AMC terminated Darabont mid-way through the second season. The series is now in its eleventh season and has spawned other hits, including Fear the Walking Dead, the second most successful show on cable television. Under his contract, Darabont and his agency, CAA, were entitled to a share of the show’s profits. However, AMC reduced those profits by imputing an artificially low license fee to the profits pool. Darabont and CAA sued in New York Supreme Court for breach of contract and the case was set for trial at the end of May. The Los Angeles firm of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley LLP was co-counsel with Blank Rome. AMC was represented by Gibson Dunn.
The lawsuit was closely watched and covered by the press, and the settlement is one of the largest profit participation pay outs in television history.