AMC Networks Paying $200 Million To Settle ‘Walking Dead’ Lawsuits

The Walking Dead AMC Networsk
AMC Networks sees 'The Walking Dead' as an expanding content universe (Image credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC)

AMC Networks agreed to pay $200 million to settle lawsuits filed by filmmaker Frank Darabont and his agent looking for payment related to The Walking Dead.

The $200 million includes $57 million in payments the network said covered payments it expected to make to Darabont for his participation in the hit show and $143 million for giving up rights to any other compensation for Walking Dead projects and promising not to sue in the future.

Darabont will also receive future payments related to streaming of the original Walking Dead series, which is in its final season, and Fear The Walking Dead

The settlement agreement includes customary provisions included in such agreements, including providing for mutual releases, covenants not to sue, waivers, confidentiality, non-disparagement and indemnification for third party claims.

AMC currently has six Walking Dead shows on the air or in the works as part of a universe the company sees as a franchise that will continue to expand.

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The Walking Dead made television history, and is one of those rare creative works that has given life to an entire content universe that is still in the early stages of growing and entertaining both new and established fans,” said Ed Carroll, chief operating officer of AMC Networks on an earning call last year. “We can’t wait to bring viewers this expanded final season of The Walking Dead over the next two years, and launch the fourth series in the history of the franchise, focused on the beloved Daryl and Carol characters, with the incredibly talented Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Angela Kang and Scott M. Gimple. There really is so much ‘walking’ ahead, in a number of very exciting directions, for this extraordinary creative universe we call The Walking Dead.”

Darabont originally filed a suit against AMC in 2013. A second suit was filed in 2018.

Friday’s settlement was disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AMC Networks had no comment beyond the filing.

AMC said that as a result of the settlement, instead of generating about $200 million in fresh cash flow in 2021, it now expects free cash flow to be approximately breakeven.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.