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AMC calls lawsuit over 'Walking Dead' profits 'baseless'

AMC calls lawsuit over 'Walking Dead' profits 'baseless'
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in a scene from AMC's "The Walking Dead." (Russell Kaye / AMC)
AMC called a lawsuit from "The Walking Dead" creator Frank Darabont and Creative Artists Agency -- which accused the company of cheating them out of profits from the hit show -- "baseless." 
Darabont and CAA said in their suit that the company had deprived them of "tens of millions of dollars" in profit through improper and abusive "self-dealing."
AMC on Thursday filed its 10-page response with the New York Supreme Court, in which it denied the allegations and asked the court to dismiss the claims and have the plaintiff cover the defendants' legal costs. 
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"We look forward to demonstrating through the legal process that this is a baseless lawsuit built on claims that have no merit," said AMC in a statement. 
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In the complaint filed with the court in December, Darabont and CAA accused the company of paying an artificially low licensing rate to the AMC affiliate that produced the show, keeping it running at a deficit while AMC made money.
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"The Walking Dead" has trumped its cable competitors in ratings and is posting viewership numbers that challenge some of the highest-rated shows on broadcast television. In the key 18-49 demographic, it is doing better than even the Sochi Winter Olympics, though the Games still have more viewers overall. 

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"The Walking Dead" is currently in its fourth season and has been renewed for a fifth. 
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Darabont developed the series, based on the comic written by Robert Kirkman, with CAA and delivered it to AMC in 2010. He wrote, directed and executive-produced the first episode and served as its show runner until he was forced out in 2011, prior to the second season. 

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Creators and producers of shows such as "Smallville" and "Will & Grace" have previously sued "vertically integrated" companies -- those that make and air the shows in-house -- for allegedly cheating them out of profit.
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Twitter: @rfaughnder

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