It has been over five years since the controversial parting of ways between The Walking Dead and filmmaker Frank Darabont, and both parties have spent more than half of that time getting deeper into a huge lawsuit. Darabont teamed with major talent agency CAA in suing AMC over lost profits, among other issues, and it appears the network's latest move is a particularly gutsy one. AMC, along with the parent company's other networks, will apparently no longer pay CAA any packaging fees for any projects that come from the agency's clients, which could have a serious effect on the network's future programming.
That might sound inside baseball, but it's not complicated. Package deals generally offer financial incentive for agencies to put together a project's foundation before shopping it around, though that definition has loosened up in recent years in the agencies' favor. So if AMC is now pulling the plug on that lucrative stream for CAA's clients and projects, then it's entirely possible the agency could steer clear of the cable outlet in the future. And considering how much talent is in CAA's client base, that could limit the actors, writers, producers and directors that work with AMC.
It would be one thing if AMC had made this a blanket decision that covered everyone else the network works with, but according to Deadline, this is a stipulation that is only being placed on CAA. That makes it feel a lot more like a direct response to CAA's consistent siding with Frank Darabont in the Walking Dead lawsuit, although it could certainly be for one or many other reasons. It was only two months ago, though, that Darabont and CAA filed they would be looking for over $280 million in damages over revenue points the network allegedly kept from both plaintiffs, largely in the years since Darabont's ousting; a sum that enormous can no doubt inspire strong reactions.
This package deal situation is said to only go into effect for projects moving forward, and won't play into anything that's already on the network or in development behind the scenes. (That goes for IFC, WE tv and BBC America, too.) There's nothing guaranteeing this decision will remain in place for a permanent basis, of course, as it could get lifted before or after things get worked out. But there's no real timeline for anything working out, as Justice Eileen Bransten won't be reviewing the filings until early 2017. And any trial that results won't take place until 2018, since Bransten will already be busy for the entirety of next year. Negan's reign might already be over by that time.