Here's the Real Reason Why Frank Darabont Was Fired From The Walking Dead

The circumstances behind exactly why Frank Darabont -- who developed Robert Kirkman's comic series The Walking Dead for TV -- was ousted during Season 2 have been the subject of gossip and speculation since it happened in 2011. But court documents from the former showrunner's lawsuit against AMC show that a big part of why he was dismissed is that he was really, really mean.

The Hollywood Reporter has an in-depth report on the court documents, which include emails from Darabont like this gem sent to executive producer Gale Anne Hurd in June 2011: "F--- you all for giving me chest pains because of the staggering f---ing incompetence, blindness to the important beats, and the beyond-arrogant lack of regard for what is written being exhibited on set every day. I deserve better than a heart attack because people are too stupid to read a script and understand the words. Does anybody disagree with me? Then join the C-cam operator and go find another job that doesn't involve deliberately f---ing up my show scene by scene."

The report contains many more examples of abusive emails from Darabont, who AMC's lawyer says was fired because "his volatile and disturbing interactions with staff and talent were impacting production." But to be fair, Darabont's anger was at least partially justified (even if his means of expressing it aren't). Season 1 performed strongly for AMC, setting a viewership record for basic cable, and yet the show's budget was cut by 25 percent for Season 2. In addition, AMC demanded to review all the scripts up front before shooting began for the season. Tensions between Darabont and AMC grew during production of Season 2 until he was fired and Glen Mazzara (who also is no longer with the show) took over.

See the first Walking Dead photo from Season 8

Darabont and his agents filed a lawsuit against AMC in 2013 alleging that they were denied their rightful share of the show's profits, claiming $280 million in damages. Essentially, Darabont is alleging that AMC engaged in creative accounting that made the show seem less valuable than it actually is to cut him out of profits he's contractually owed. According to Darabont, AMC Networks was licensing the show from AMC Studios at a rate far below its fair market value, and that licensing fee is a large part of how Darabont's compensation is calculated. The license fee formula has since been revised to bring it closer to market value, but Darabont still wants what he feels he's owed for the early seasons.

"Rather than a referendum on me, this lawsuit is about AMC's radically undervaluing The Walking Dead in order not to share profits in a manner reflecting the show's actual fair market value," says Darabont in his affidavit. "This lawsuit is also about AMC's refusal to share the unprecedented success of the show with the people who actually created that success for them, and about AMC's self-dealing and corporate greed."

The full report is chock-full of fascinating behind-the-scenes dealings and financial information about the biggest show on cable, and is recommended reading for anyone curious about how Hollywood works. But it also just makes you hope you never, ever get on Frank Darabont's bad side.

This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

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Aug 18, 2017
Why is this still here? It's been over a month now!
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Jul 14, 2017
Good luck to Frank Darabont getting another directing job anytime soon. No wonder he's hardly done anything since leaving The Walking Dead if that email to Gail Anne Hurd is any indication of the way he interacts with his co-workers. But hey! Mel Gibson managed to get directing gigs again, so anything's possible.
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Aug 10, 2017
This is completely normal for directors. And in his defense there are a LOT of people on set and in production who are not in the slightest way talented but think they have to dictate every step. Gail Hurd is most likely a good example.
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Aug 10, 2017
Gale Anne Hurd produced and co-wrote the original Terminator, and, if I recall correctly, she also produced Alien Nation. I'd hardly describe her as untalented.
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Aug 10, 2017
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Aug 10, 2017
Truth is you answered your own statement. Plenty of people got blacklisted for various reasons and still managed to majorly turn things around. Mel Gibson is actually a great example.

Chris Brown pretty much the same. RDJ? Charlie Sheen?
Heck, Rob Lowe was totally blacklisted (due to sex with a minor which admittedly is a different story) but after years of being frozen out he is everywhere now.

Hollywood doesn't have long term memory.

Wouldn't be a surprise if Thomas Gibson will also make a comeback in the near future and he freaking assaulted a staff member.
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Jul 14, 2017
Depends on how true his statements are and if they follow a series of frustrations that led to his outburst.

Checking IMDB, he's not that prolific anyway. For Walking Dead, he directed only one episode. he was mainly producer and writer.

The lawsuit could consume his time as well or keep him from getting involved in new work.
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